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JANUARY 1918. 



THE Hun had put up a good 
rearguard fight against con- 
siderably superior odds (as, to 
give the devil his due, he 
usually did in that part of 
Africa), but in the end had 
elected to retire across "The 
River," destroying behind him 
the only bridge which it boasted 
on its whole course. 

Climbing the low forest-clad 
bluff, which commanded the 
northern approach thereto, the 
Brigade at last set eyes on the 
river concerning which it had 
speculated so much during the 
latter phases of the campaign. 
Save for its unexpected width, 
it presented no unusual fea- 
tures: a swift yellow flood, 
close on half a mile across, 
confined by sandy shores, 
where the heart - breaking 
thorn-bush of the interior at 
length ceased, and broken at 
intervals by reed - covered 
islands. Beyond the far bank 
stretched a wide expanse of 
elephant-grass, and thence to 
the horizon a waste of dry, 


neutral - tinted thorn, dotted 
here and there with the grot- 
esque baobab, that monstrosity 
among trees. No sign of life 
broke the desolation of the 
southern shore, but the ready 
bullet which greeted the ap- 
pearance of watering parties 
on our bank showed that the 
Hun was still in full pos- 
session, and awaiting our next 
move with his musket at full 
cock. Taking advantage of 
the plentiful cover afforded by 
the trees, some of the officers 
descended the forward slope of 
the hill to reconnoitre the re- 
mains of the bridge. This 
had once been a fairly solid 
structure, crossing the river 
in two spans of some 300 
yards each, by way of a 
central island. The retiring 
enemy had, however, made 
time enough to destroy the 
whole of it pretty thoroughly, 
and the yellow waters seethed 
savagely between such piles 
as remained. 

"750 yards, sir," reported a 

At the River's Brink. 


range- taker from his Barr & 
Stroud, " to the tree at the 
far end of the bridge." 

" Some river what ? " said 
the battery commander to the 
Sapper; "how are you going 
to put us across here ? " 

"Not by this bridge, any- 
how," replied the latter; "it 
would take till the rains to re- 
pair. It'll have to be a case of 
the * flying-ferry ' again, if I can 
find any place where the river 
is a reasonable width. It's 
quite out of the question here. 
You don't want a K.E. for 
this sort of job; you want a 
Moses ! " 

" Well, and do you mean to 
tell me that the Science of 
Engineering hasn't advanced 
in the 4000 years since his 
time ? " 

"No doubt," replied the 
Sapper ; " but unfortunately 
the Art of Working Miracles 
got lost during the same 

"Anyhow," continued the 
Gunner, "you can't get busy 
even on the ferry till we've 
got some one on the other 
side to stand the Hun off. 
Is the river supposed to be 
fordable anywhere, Moses ? It 
should be about its lowest now, 
just before the rains." 

He was interrupted by a 
cry from another of the party, 
who had been searching the 
river with his glasses. " Why, 
there's a boat or something 
coming down-stream ! " 

Since another column was 
known to be attempting a 
similar enterprise several days' 
march higher up the river, this 
was by no means impossible, 
and all eyes were turned on the 

rapidly approaching black ob- 
ject. Boat if it was, it was 
obviously not under control, as 
it swung this way and that as 
it came. On the other hand, 
water seemed to be splashing 
on either side of it, as from the 
erratic flailing of oars. 

" It's a boat bottom up, with 
men sitting on it," at length 
decided the Gunner; "do you 
see those things sticking up ? " 

"Not it," replied the Intelli- 
gence Officer, an old African 
hunter; "it's a dead kiboko 
(hippopotamus), and those are 
his legs in the air, and, by 
Jove, he's got about a dozen 
crocs round eating him look ! " 

By this time the corpse had 
been carried down abreast of 
the party, and it was apparent 
that the deceased (probably 
shot, poor brute, by some sports- 
man with the up-river column) 
was indeed the centre of attrac- 
tion to a large number of croco- 
diles. These were worrying 
and snapping at the carcass 
on all sides with gaping jaws 
and threshing tails, for all the 
world like a shoal of dace round 
a bread-crust in a pond. 

"Ten, I make them," said 
the Gunner ; " ten round the 
hippo, and look at those others 
folio wing down-stream. They're 
coming out from under every 
sandbank, too. Look there," 
pointing, "and there! I can 
count another dozen, besides 
the ten who are at him. No," 
turning to the Sapper, "no 
fording in mine, I thank you ! " 

" General's compliments," 
said a despatch-rider, arriving 
on j* motor-bicycle in a series 
of kangaroo-like bounds over 
the rough ground, "and will 


At the River's Brink. 

the Engineer Officer speak to 
him at onoe, please?" 

"More work for Moses," re- 
marked the I.O. to the others 
as the Sapper moved off; "I 
guess he's going to be told to 
get busy with the Red Sea 
stunt. I wonder did the sharks 
take a hand in that affair ! " 

The Brigadier was seated 
writing in the exiguous shade 
of a dry thorn-tree. " I want 
to force the crossing to-night," 
said he, looking up; "what 
boats have you available for 
the job?" 

"Only the eight Berthons, 
sir," replied the Sapper, " and 
they are not up yet, though 
they should be in before dark. 
There is nothing else. I have 
seen no canoes, and expect the 
enemy has either sunk them or 
taken them across his side." 

"How many men can a 
Berthon take ? " was the next 

"Four is a full load, but for 
crossing purposes you can only 
reckon three a trip, as one man 
must come back with the boat." 

"And how many trips do 
you reckon a boat ean do in an 

"Well, it seems a stiff cur- 
rent : say, not more than two 
there and back, at the best." 

"That's between forty and 
fifty men an hour, then?" 

" At the very outside. The 
odds are that some of the boats 
won't be fit for use when they 
do get in. They were pretty 
old when we landed, and two 
years in Africa hasn't done 
them any good. They were on 

their last legs when we had 
finished the crossing of the 
Mamba river with them last 
year, and I expect the bumping 
they are now getting on the 
"jiggers" 1 will have holed 
some of them. If they don't 
get in till late and you want to 
cross to-night, there will be no 
time to overhaul and repair." 

"H'm. Well, we've got to 
have a try, anyhow, if they 
turn up by dark. If they're 
not in by then, they won't oast 
up till to-morrow, as the jig- 
gers can't run on that track 
by night. Have you made 
any reconnaissance of the 
river yet?" 

"No time so far, sir, except 
just at the old bridge. It's 
750 yards across there, taken 
on a range-finder, and the 
enemy is occupying the far 

"Well, we must try some- 
where else, then," said the 
Brigadier, rising; "it's 4 P.M. 
now, so we've got just about 
two hours to find a place. 
Come along," and the two of 
them plunged into the eternal 

The shades of night pres- 
ently saw a strange procession 
forcing its way along a game 
trail (which is just a degree 
less difficult than unadulterated 
bush) towards the point on the 
river, some two miles above 
the German bridge, which the 
Brigadier had finally selected 
for the attempt. The eight 
boats had actually cast up just 
as darkness fell, had been rapidly 

1 " Jigger " = literally : an African pest of the flea tribe ; 

colloquially : term of affection for the Ford Motor Car. 

At the River's Brink. 


unloaded from the jiggers on 
which they had travelled the 
hundred odd miles which sepa- 
rated them from the railway, 
and lashed on to long poles for 
porter transport. Since each 
boat was composed of two 
halves, and each half required 
six porters and an eighteen- 
foot pole, the resulting pro- 
cession was of some length. 
Accompanying the boats was 
the personnel necessary to 
work and keep them in repair. 
This numbered no more than 
one British subaltern and a 
dozen Indian sappers, being 
the remains of a unit minished 
and brought low by two years 
of "plague, pestilence, and 
famine," or their African 
equivalents of fever, dysentery, 
and half rations. Finally, there 
was a double company of the 
Indian regiment selected for 
the forlorn hope. This regi- 
ment, having but recently 
landed in the country, was 
that African curiosity a unit 
in which " establishment " and 
" strength " do not differ by 
very much. This again was 
attended by the inevitable 
host of porters, laden with the 
usual impedimenta of maxims, 
ammunition, entrenching tools, 
medical panniers, and so forth. 
Hacking with billhook and dah, 
and cursing sotto voce in many 
dialects of three continents, 
the column crashed its way 
through the thorn jungle, 
while minor crashings to right 
and left told of the alarm and 
flight of the more rightful 
users of the trail. At last the 
Sapper recognised the spot 
selected some hours previously. 
Unpromising as this had looked 

in the light of day, its appear- 
ance was still less prepossess- 
ing by the rays of the low 
moon. Emerging from the 
dark bush belt at the river's 
edge, the party was confronted 
by a low sandy island, crowned 
with tall elephant - grass, and 
running more or less parallel 
with the shore on which they 
stood. From the farther side 
of this island the attempt was 
to be made to reach the south- 
ern bank of the river but first 
had to be crossed a backwater 
of the latter, fifty yards wide, 
inky black, and up to a man's 

Hoping that none of his 
following had shared his after- 
noon's view of the dead hippo 
and its attendants, and heart- 
ening himself up with that 
excellent maxim, "The more 
you look at it, the less you'll 
like it," the leader of the 
column made the plunge, emer- 
ging finally amidst the reeds 
of the island. While waiting 
here for his following to collect, 
he thought with some amuse- 
ment of the advice given in the 
" Child's Guide to Knowledge " 
(as the official Intelligence 
handbook was irreverently 
termed) for crossing crocodile- 
haunted rivers with impunity 
i.e., always fire two or three 
rifle-shots into the water first 
and wondered what the 
gifted author would have done 
on the present occasion, where 
silence was of the last import- 

The column eventually as- 
sembled under cover of the 
reeds on the backbone of the 
island, the boats were expanded 
and their various components 


At the River's Brink. 

fitted together. Here also the 
expected, but none the less un- 
pleasant, discovery was made 
that the several days' bucket- 
ing on the jiggers had torn the 
rotten canvas of three of the 
boats beyond possibility of im- 
mediate repair, thus reducing 
the number available to five. 

From the fringe of reeds now 
sheltering the party on the 
crest of the island an expanse 
of bare sand, shining brightly 
beneath the nearly full moon, 
sloped gently down for some 
two hundred yards to the 
water's edge. Then came the 
main channel of the river, 
apparently about a quarter of 
a mile wide, bounded on the 
far side by a similar sandbank 
jutting out from the southern 
shore, and just distinguishable 
in the moonlight. Behind that 
again a thick black belt against 
the sky presumably repre- 
sented the actual mainland, 
but whether covered with bush 
or reeds it was impossible to 
tell. In the east the moon was 
yet low on her climb to the 
zenith low enough to cast a 
golden lane athwart the black 
waters. It was deathly still : 
not a breeze stirred the hot 
night air; not a sound was 
heard but the "ping-g" of a 
myriad mosquitoes, the occa- 
sional clink of metal as some 
boat fastening slipped into 
place, and now and again a 
heavy "plop" from mid-stream 
as some fish pursued his lawful 

"Five boats ready, sir," re- 
ported the subaltern of the boat 

"Get them launched, then," 
and, leaving the cover of the 

reeds, five crab -like shapes 
staggered through the soft 
sand to the river brink, each 
composed of a complete boat 
borne by eight men. Once in 
the water, an Indian sapper 
assumed the r6le of Charon in 
the bow, while the stern was 
packed with three of the Sikhs. 
Each man had already divested 
himself of, and carried in his 
hand, his bandolier, equipment, 
and boots the former as swim- 
ming was a very possible item 
on the programme, and the 
latter since a boot-heel will go 
very readily through the side 
of a canvas boat, especially 
when the fabric is "as rotten 
as pears." With this first 
flight went a couple of Brit- 
ish officers to reconnoitre the 
enemy's shore. One was then 
to remain in command of the 
thirteen sepoys, while the other 
returned to report results. 

"Well, good luck to you," 
were the final words of their 
O.C. ; " if you don't bump the 
Huns (which I sincerely trust 
you won't), pick out as good 
a line as you can for defence 
and lie doggo. But if you do 
butt into them, mind you ease 
off your muskets to give us the 
alarm and get back if you can." 
Then, after a final injunction 
to the oarsmen to keep the 
boats' heads well up-stream, and 
to the passengers to sit down, 
whatever happened, the five 
craft were given a farewell 
shove through the shoal water 
and vanished into the gloom as 
silently as could be expected. 

It is surprising how little of 
objects not actually on the sky- 
line can be seen even in the 
light of a tropic moon, which 

At the River's Brink 


appears to make the whole 
scene "as light as day." A 
hundred yards from the shore 
and the boats were barely dis- 
cernible; two hundred, and 
they were one with the black 
bosom of the river. An occa- 
sional splash was heard from 
some badly managed oar, then 
all was silence. 

The remainder of the party 
stretched themselves on the 
sand, still warm from the 
scorching sun of the past day, 
and endured the attentions of 
the mosquitoes while awaiting 
events. What of the dark, 
mysterious farther shore : was 
it indeed as deserted as it 
seemed, or would it presently 
awake to a blaze of musketry 
as the heavily laden boats 
toiled towards it? Unable to 
sit quiet under the suspense, 
and the solace of tobacco being 
naturally denied them, some 
of the Europeans arose and 
plodded severally up and down 
through the heavy sand. Ten, 
twenty minutes passed . . . 
then from the bosom of the 
Stygian flood arose a weird 
and alarming cry " Hoomph 
hoomph hoomph," followed by 
a heavy and bubbling sigh. 

"What on earth is that?" 
said one of the officers "a 
hippo, I suppose. I hope to 
the Lord he doesn't go for the 
boats. They must have put 
him up; he seems annoyed 
about something, doesn't he ! 
What a campaign hippos, 
crocodiles, and Huns all at 

Silence again forty, fifty 
minutes now since the boats 
had left. Not a sound, except 
an occasional protesting bellow 

from the hippo, which now 
seemed to have called up a 

"I wonder whether they 
make that row every night," 
said the previous speaker, " be- 
cause, if not, it will probably 
give the show away to the 
Hun and make him suspect 
there's something doing down 
this way." 

Another ten minutes passed : 
it was now a full hour since 
the departure of the flotilla, 

" Looks bad," at length said 
the O.C. ; " they must have 
found the current too strong 
and got swept down - stream. 
If they had landed and met 
the Boohe, we should have at 
least heard some shots." 

" Is that you, Colonel ? " said 
a voice behind him, as a figure 
arrived noiselessly over the 
sand ; " we got across all right 
found no Huns, and I've 
come back to report." 

"By Jove, but I'm glad to 
see you, Jones ! But what 
have you done with the 

" Oh, we rather lost our way 
coming back, having no point 
to steer on, and hit the shore 
some way down. They're com- 
ing up along the bank, so I 
got out and walked to save 

"Well, and what about it?" 

"The current is devilish 
strong in the middle, and we 
got taken down some way 
going across also. Finally we 
made the other bank a good 
bit lower than I intended. 
That side is much like this, 
only the bush is a long way 
farther back, and in between 
seems to be all one big sand- 


At the River's Brink. 

flat covered with reeds about 
eight or ten feet high. There 
is no choice of ground at all, 
and I don't suppose you'll be 
able to see twenty yards in 
any direction even in the day- 
light. We saw no signs of the 
Hun at all, but I didn't like 
to go too far inland while we 
were so weak, in case I bumped 
a patrol. So I left Smith 
there and came back to report 
and get the next lot. He's 
going to flash his electric torch 
this way from time to time 
to give the boats the line. 
He's got it under the bank 
where it's quite safe from the 

"Did you see anything of 
the hippo as you went over ? " 

" Well, just where we landed 
we came on a couple feeding 
on the bank, right out of the 
water. The sepoys didn't seem 
to like the looks of them much, 
and as I was afraid some of 
them might start shooting, I 
called out as loud as I dared, 
' Yih bahut garib janwar hai ; 
agar ko'i shakhs usko taklif 
nahin kare, to tumko bilkul 
kuohh nuksan nahin dega ' 
(* This is a very tame animal ; 
should no man annoy him, he 
will not injure you in the 
least '), and fortunately the 
hippos took to the water and 
left us, as I was by no means 
sure that I was right ! " 

"I love little pussy, her coat is so 

And if I don't hurt her, she'll do me 

no harm," 

quoted some untimely humour- 
ist in the background. 

"But what about the other 
jokers out in the river? We 

heard a lot of grunting going 
on about half an hour ago." 

"I didn't see anything of 
that lot myself, though I heard 
them closer than I cared about 
but one of the boats re- 
ported that the pani ka 
hathi (water elephant) had 
caught hold of one of their 
oars in his mouth and bitten 
it off. Luckily they had a 
spare one, but the crew seemed 
rather to have the wind up 
them over the affair." 

" I don't think the hippos 
mean to attack the boats," 
remarked another; "they come 
up out of curiosity and try to 
get a nearer look, that's all." 

"It doesn't seem to make 
much odds what the motive is, 
as long as the boat gets upset 
either way," replied Jones j 
"the question is how to keep 
the brutes at a distance. The 
devil of it is that we can't 
make a noise, for fear of bring- 
ing the Hun down on us. He 
seems to have got all the 
animals in Africa to lend him 
a hand ! " he spoke with some 
feeling, having been tree'd by 
a rhino a few days before when 
out with a patrol. 

"Well," said the O.C., 
" there's nothing for it but to 
make the men in the boats 
fix bayonets, and if a hippo 
tries to come aboard they must 
jab him in the nose. Perhaps 
that will put him off a bit, 
It can't make matters much 
worse, anyhow, once he is as 
close to the boat as all that. 
Ah, here they are at last. 
Now, another fifteen men, 

The five boats now began to 
arrive from down-stream, towed 


At the River's Brink. 

along the edge of the island, 
and a further party of Sikhs 
was despatched with Jones. 
And so the long, long night 
wore on, live loads of men 
alternating with dead loads of 
maxims, shovels, ammunition 
boxes, and so on, as the needs 
of the slowly growing force on 
the south bank dictated. The 
moon, long since past the 
zenith, sank westwards, and 
the golden pathway now ran 
up-stream. In the small hours 
a fitful wind arose to chill the 
still soaking men, who dozed 
on the sandbank while await- 
ing their turn to embark, and 
in conjunction with the efforts 
of the mosquitoes gave fair 
promise of abundant malaria 
in the future. The hippo 
patrol maintained its beat in 
the fairway, and presently a 
crew reported having actually 
engaged and driven off one of 
them with the flat of the oar 
and the point of the bayonet. 
A curious picture, this, for the 
imagination ! The twelve-foot 
boat, so frail that a man could 
put his shod foot through it 
anywhere, so crank that to 
stand upright was to invite 
disaster, with its heavy load of 
land-bred Indians, packed like 
sardines; the black and swift 
current below, and, beneath all, 
the lurking crocodile. Then, 
the sudden onse't of a huge 
beast, unknown to Asiatic 
zoology, and the silent, sway- 
ing battle, with the moon- 
light shimmering on blade of 
oar and bayonet. 

"Not much more than an- 
other hour's moon left," said 
the Sapper to the O.C. of the 
Sikhs; "that'll mean about 


another two trips a boat ; the 
men rowing are pretty well 
cooked already. I've orders to 
knock off at moonset, hide the 
boats behind the island, and 
have everybody cleared off it 
by dawn. How much more 
have you got to go?" 

The C.O. took stock of his 
greatly diminished party, and 
replied : " Twenty more men 
and about four full boat-loads 
of tools and so on. We should 
just about do it nicely." 

But things had so far run 
too smoothly to continue, and 
presently a mutton-fisted Sikh 
let drop the bundle of tools 
which he was embarking, and 
a shovel -blade went right 
through the canvas. The 
Berthon then quietly filled and 
subsided on the bottom, reduc- 
ing the effective craft to four. 
And so the first streaks of 
dawn were already mottling 
the eastern sky before the last 
trip was concluded and the 
final boat hurriedly hidden 
beside its comrades in the lee 
of the island. 

Blind with sleep having by 
now spent some twenty-four 
exceedingly well-filled hours on 
their legs the boat party again 
waded the backwater, and 
staggered back along the game 
trail to where the Brigade 
was bivouacked. Then, to the 
" earliest pipe of half-awakened 
bird," the Sapper cast him- 
self on his valise, wondering 
whether he would be lucky 
enough to get even one full 
hour's " shut-eye " before being 
dug out again for the duties of 
that day. 

For twelve sunny hours the 


At the River's Brink. 


sweating Sikhs lay "doggo" 
in burrows on the reed-grown 
but treeless flat covering the 
landing - place on the south 
bank. It was the hottest 
season of the year, and the 
valley of " The River " is notori- 
ous as one of the hottest and 
generally most pestilential 
spots in Equatorial Africa. 
The sand on which they lay 
reflected back on them every 
ray of the tropical sun, at mid- 
day so vertical that the tall 
reeds cast no shadow. At 
times a hot breeze swayed their 
tops with a dry rustle, but no 
air reached the panting men 
eight feet below, whose only 
ease was writhing from side to 
side like St Lawrence on his 
grid. The ground, except 
where protected from the sun 
by some hapless human body, 
was too hot to touch, and the 
rifle-barrels blistered the naked 
hand. It seemed impossible 
that the cartridges in the 
bandoliers should not present- 
ly begin to explode. However, 
the worst torment of Africa 
was spared the sepoys : water 
could be obtained from well- 
concealed points on the bank, 
where hippo-runs made path- 
ways down to the river. Al- 
though almost at blood-heat 
from flowing over the sandy 
shallows, it still served to re- 
place that evaporated from the 
human body. 

"Agar dozakh b'rui zamin 
ast hamin ast, hamin ast " 
(" If there be a hell upon 
earth, this is it"), misquoted 
Smith, as he swabbed his 
head for the hundredth time, 
and wrung out his sweat- 
soaked handkerchief. " Oh, 

for the shade even of Jonah's 
gourd ! Would night or 
Bluoher would come ! " 

"I don't know so much 
about that," replied Jones; 
"if * Bluoher' rolls up we 
shall get it in the neck ; we're 
very much between the devil 
and the deep sea here or 
between the Hun and the 
mugger (crocodile), to be 
more exact. However, I don't 
expect him now, as I can't 
imagine any patrol fool enough 
to come barging into this 
jungle. If our people get 
another couple of double- 
companies across to-night, we 
should be able to leave this 
furnace to - morrow, and get 
up on the real bank among 
what trees there are." 

"And then what? I sup- 
pose the Hun will be all over 

" I doubt it. I expect he 
has streaked off south to join 
his pals at Quiloa. Anyhow, 
with the best part of the 
regiment on this side, we 
ought to be able to put it 
across him ! " 

"Well, and what next? I 
suppose the whole Brigade 
isn't going to paddle across 
by threes in those infernal 
cockle-shells ? " 

" Kather not : once we have 
got a good hold on this bank, 
and can stand the Hun off a 
bit, the Sappers will get a steel 
rope across the river, and run 
a raft to and fro on it. They 
can put over half a company 
at a time, or guns, or any- 
thing you like on that. That's 
how we crossed the Mamba 
river last year, when I was 
with the ' Bahadurs.' 


At the River's Brink. 


" I remember," he continued, 
"a thing which tickled me a 
lot there. The river was 
much narrower than this, and 
we had a light bridge of boats 
to cross by, as well as the raft. 
The men and pack - animals 
walked over the bridge, while 
vehicles had to go by the 
ferry. The bridge was made 
out of these same boats (which 
is what they are meant for, 
not this rowing stunt), and 
as it jumped about a good 
bit, troops crossing had to 
break step to steady it. Pres- 
ently along came the * 1st 
Filibusters,' with a bloke at 
their head, full of importance. 
The chap in charge of the 
bridge sang out, * Break step, 
please, when you get on the 
bridge.' To which the bold 
Filibuster replied, * You needn't 
tell us that; we do it natur- 
ally ' which was true enough, 
though probably not exactly 
what he meant to say ! 

"The mules were the very 
devil. As soon as the bridge 
began to jump about a bit, 
they did the same, and every 
now and then one of them 
would go overboard. When 
he fell between two of the 
boats it was all right, as he 
usually swam ashore some- 
where. But if he landed in 
a boat, his feet went right 
through the bottom and it 
sank. Then it had to be 
taken out of the bridge and 
another one put in its place, 
and this held up the crossing 
for about half an hour each 
time it happened. Finally, we 
took to swimming them across 
on a rope, and I remember a 
mugger got one by the nose 

and held on so tight that they 
hauled mule and mugger 
ashore together. Will you be- 
lieve it, instead of shooting the 
mugger they started beating 
him over the head with boat- 
hooks, and presently he let 
go and got away ! " 

"That was just before the 
scrap at Mwitu ya Chui, wasn't 
it?" said the other; "there 
was a yarn that an empty Staff 
oar there got rather closer to 
the battle than the driver cared 
about. After he had got a 
couple of bullets through the 
hood, he concluded he'd be 
better off if he left the car 
and got behind a bush. He 
had hardly gone to ground 
when a panther, also scared out 
of its life by the firing, jumped 
over the bush and landed be- 
tween his shoulders. Panther 
and * shower ' then vanished in 
opposite directions on the top 
gear 1 These wild animals com- 
plicate war a great deal." 

" Probably not as much, after 
all, as the war complicates life 
for the animals," returned 
Jones; "sometimes they get 
quite annoyed about it, too. I 
remember a scrap between one 
of our patrols and a Germani 
one near Kifaru last year, in 
the middle of which an old 
rhino got up and charged each 
of them in turn. In the end 
he drove the two of them com- 
pletely off the field and ended 
the battle. ' Signals ' is always 
making a song about how the 
giraffes pull down his air-line 
every few days but how would 
he like to be a giraffe and find 
himself suddenly guillotined by 
a telegraph wire across his 
favourite run to water! No, 


At the River's Brink. 


it's only scavengers like the 
lions that are doing well out 
of this campaign. Did you ever 
hear of that man in the Mounted 
Rifles who was wounded up 
Simba way early in the war, 
and had to lie out all night 
listening to a couple of lions 
eating his dead horse a few 
yards off? He said it seemed 
quite a long night!" 

At length evening fell with- 
out the enemy giving any indi- 
cation at all of his presence on 
the south bank. Yesterday's 
sniping across the river at men 
washing and drawing water 
had entirely ceased, and the 
opinion was generally expressed 
that he had cleared off to join 
his main forces in the south. 
During the day better arrange- 
ments were made for the ferry- 
ing over of the remaining three 
double-companies of the Sikhs, 
one of which was the replace- 
ment of the Indian rowers of 
the previous night by volunteer 
oarsmen from the European 
regiment of the Brigade. 
Fortunately there were forth- 
coming enough men, whose 
peace-time avocations entailed 
some knowledge of aquatics, to 
provide a treble relief for each 
boat, and so free the few 
sappers entirely for attending 
to repairs. Meantime the four 
damaged Berthons had been 
patched, and with his whole 
fleet thus re-engined and made 
seaworthy, when at dusk the 
Sapper again waded the back- 
water to the island, he had 
little doubt that by dawn he 
would have the whole regiment 
across " The River." 

Since this second night's 

ferrying was but a repetition 
of that which had gone before, 
without the latter's handicap 
of haste and want of prepar- 
ation, it is unnecessary to dwell 
on it. The whole flotilla, how- 
ever, was seldom in commission 
at once, owing to constant 
injuries to the rotten canvas 
from carelessly handled loads, 
or from the numerous snags in 
contact with which the more 
hearty methods of the European 
oarsmen frequently brought the 
boats. However, as each was 
reported to be leaking, it was 
hauled out of the water and 
carried off to an improvised 
workshop behind the reeds and 
tinkered up by the sappers and 
the light of the moon. To-night 
the hippos seemed to be dis- 
concerted by the increased 
volume of traffic, and confined 
themselves to resentful bellow- 
ings. All, in fact, went well, 
and by dawn the Sapper found 
himself again at his bivouac, 
pretty well dead to the world, 
having had two hours' sleep out 
of the last forty-eight. 

He was not long, however, to 
enjoy repose. His head seemed 
hardly to have touched the 
pillow when he was aroused by 
a Staff Officer. 

" Sorry to have to wake 
you," said the latter, "but the 
General wants the crossing to 
go on again at once. The 
Pathans are the next regiment 
for it, and I am on my way to 
turn them out." 

"To cross in the daylight ? " 
asked the Sapper. 

" Yes : the Sikhs are moving 
forward at once. Between you 
and me, I think the Huns must 
have mostly cleared off. The 


At the River's Brink. 


General also wants you to fix 
the place for the flying-ferry as 
soon as possible, and let him 
know where it will be," and he 

The Sapper roused the un- 
fortunate subaltern of the boat 
party. "Look here," he said, 
"you must carry on with get- 
ting the Pathans across 
they'll have to row themselves. 
We can't very well turn out 
again the men who have just 
been at it all night, and your 
fellows have got their hands 
full with mending the boats. 
I'm off to have a last look for 
a decent site for the flying- 
ferry. They'll probably want 
it up by to-morrow. I tried 
up-stream yesterday, and I'm 
now going to have a last look 
down-stream from here. So 
you'll know where to find me 
if I am wanted." 

Not long after he was cross- 
ing the shoulder of " Look-out 
Hill " (as had since been christ- 
ened the low forest-clad bluff, 
from whence he had watched 
the passing of the dead hippo), 
and paused to look back up the 
river towards the scene of his 
nightly labours. The crossing 
of the Pathans was already 
in full swing, and for some 
moments he watched the boats 
over the intervening two miles 
of water. All seemed quiet, 
and the Pathans to be handling 
the boats better than he had 

"No doubt the Hun has 
cleared," he said to himself, as 
he turned his back on the 
scene and descended the hill 
on his farther quest ; " the 
Sikhs must be some way inland 
by now. I'll have to look 
sharp and find a site for the 

ferry, as we're sure to have to 
start fixing it up to-day." 

It may be of interest to give 
a brief description of the "fly- 
ing-ferry," of which mention 
has been made several times. 
Its most important component 
is a steel hawser some three 
inches in circumference, sus- 
pended in the air across the 
river, and held up in this posi- 
tion by an extemporised scaffold 
on each bank. Between these 
the cable is stretched as taut 
as may be, and a "traveller" 
(Anglice, a pulley) is threaded 
on to it, so as to run easily in 
either direction. Now, if a 
boat be connected to this tra- 
veller by one rope from its stem 
and another from its stern, it is 
obvious that by adjusting their 
respective lengths the boat can 
be set and maintained at any 
angle with the current. If the 
latter be not too sluggish, the 
immediate result of thus placing 
the boat diagonally to it is that 
the boat commences to travel 
across the river. The principle 
is precisely that (mutatis mu- 
tandis) of a yacht sailing on a 
broad reach. In place of her 
sail set at an angle to the wind, 
you have the keel of the ferry- 
boat maintained at an angle to 
the stream, leeway being pre- 
vented by the steel cable, which 
exists solely to discharge the 
function of the yacht's centre- 

As soon as the prospect of 
knocking a hole in the opposite 
bank becomes imminent the 
stern rope is released, the boat 
(being now secured to the cable 
by the bow rope only) comes 
up head to stream, loses her 
way and arrives handsomely 
alongside the landing - place. 


At the River's Brink. 


That is, if the operator con- 
ducts the operation neatly and 
lets go at the right psychologi- 
cal moment ; otherwise the re- 
sulting bump is apt to expedite 
the landing of the passengers 
very materially. For the re- 
turn trip the procedure is merely 
reversed, and the boat set the 
opposite way across the cur- 
rent. With the exception that 
the Sapper's ferry would con- 
sist of two large pontoons, 
decked in and capable of carry- 
ing five tons at a time, such was 
the contrivance for which he 
was seeking a site. 

It will be evident that the 
chief desiderata are a regular 
current and a moderate span. 
However taut a cable may be 
stretched there must always be 
a very appreciable sag in the 
middle, and the greater the 
width the lower does this bight 
hang down. The more lofty, 
consequently, must the scaffolds 
be on the two banks, so as to 
raise the cable clear of the 
water at the centre. The me- 
chanical difficulties in the erec- 
tion of very lofty scaffolds, and 
also of suspending a great 
length of heavy cable between 
them, are considerable, and the 
practical limit of such a ferry 
is reached with a span of be- 
tween three and four hundred 

Some hours later, having de- 
cided on the site possessed of 
the fewest disadvantages, the 
Sapper was retracing his steps 
up the hill when he became 
aware of distant firing across 
the river, in which was dis- 
tinguishable the drumming of 
several maxims. "The Sikhs 
must have bumped something 
after all," was his reflection, 

and he quickened his pace up 
the hill to see what was hap- 

On the top he found the 
Brigadier gazing through his 
glasses at the distant boats. 
These were still plying on the 
river, but apparently rather 

"Good morning," said the 
latter ; " the Sikhs seem to be 
well into it on the other side. 
Some of the enemy, too, are 
sniping at the boats from up- 
and down-stream of the bit of 
bank we are holding." 

He had hardly spoken when 
there was the report of a field- 
gun from somewhere across the 
river, and a fountain of water 
presently arose in mid-stream, 
short of the line on which the 
boats were plying. Another re- 
port followed, and a shell burst 
beyond them on our bank. 

"That's the bracket," re- 
marked one of the spectators ; 
"now the boats are in for a 
plastering. I wonder where 
the Hun has got his guns." 
As he spoke there were two 
reports in quick succession, a 
couple of white clouds suddenly 
appeared in the air above the 
river, and its surface was lashed 
with the descending shrapnel. 
Fortunately the enemy had 
only two guns bearing on this 
point, and for a space the boats 
made shift to endure the 
punishment. Soon, however, 
some of them were seen to be 
low in the water and in evident 
difficulties, but all at length 
succeeded in reaching the 
island shore. Here the rowers 
beached them with commend- 
able coolness, and then made 
for the cover of the reeds, bear- 
ing their sculls with them. 


At the River's Brink. 


"Telephone message, sir," 
said the Staff Officer, "from 
the O.C. of the Pathans at the 
crossing to say the boats are 
under a cross fire of two 
maxims, and that shrapnel has 
just been opened on them. He 
says that four of them are 
badly holed already, and wants 
to know if he is to carry on. 
He's only got one company 
across so far." 

"Tell him to get the sound 
boats under cover behind the 
island, and keep his men there, 
too, till further orders;" then to 
the Sapper, "I'm afraid we'll 
have to stop the crossing till 
dark. We can't risk having 
all the boats knocked out and 
being out off from the other 
side entirely. Be ready to 
begin again as soon as possible 
after sunset, and get the rest 
of the Pathans across then, 
and the Gurkhas after them. 
The Sikhs will just have to 
stick it out till then, but to- 
morrow we should be able to 
push on again." 

Having thus no special job 
till evening, and being some- 
what leg-weary, the Sapper de- 
bated whether to stay and see 
the fun or return to his valise 
and try to make up the two 
nights' sleep of which he was 
deficient. However, as our 
large and varied collection of 
artillery was now engaging the 
opposite bank with a din which 
put any prospect of sleep en- 
tirely out of the question, he 
elected to remain. So tele- 
phoning down to the island 
for the sappers to repair what 
boats they could reach, and 
then return to camp and get 
some food and rest against 
their coming labours of the 

night, he made the best of the 
very "dappled" shade of a 
dry thorn-tree, and watched 
the shooting. Since the oppo- 
site shore was all dense bush, 
where it was not elephant- 
grass, location of the enemy 
was most difficult, and beyond 
a general plastering of the area 
where he was supposed to be, 
our artillery did not seem to 
be accomplishing much. That 
in any case it did not incom- 
mode him very seriously was 
apparent from the fact that the 
Sikhs were gradually pressed 
back on to the river flat, 
whence they had advanced 
that morning. Once back in 
the dense elephant-grass they 
were able to make head against 
the superior numbers of the 
enemy, and a stationary fire- 
fight ensued ior some hours. 

Meanwhile the hostile guns 
had lost their first handsome 
target of the boats, all that 
were still seaworthy having 
been hurriedly withdrawn be- 
hind the island. After expend- 
ing some rounds on the few 
derelicts stranded here and 
there along the sandbank, and 
being unable to shell the Sikhs 
without equally punishing their 
own men, the enemy's artillery 
amused itself with shooting at 
the top of "Look-out Hill," 
and searching for the Brigade 
bivouac with shrapnel. The 
inaction of the day before was 
entirely gone ; instead, the 
whole of the opposite bank 
seemed to be alive with snipers, 
who kept up a brisk fire on 
anything they saw moving 
across the river. 

It now seemed clear that our 
crossing on the previous two 
nights must have taken the 


At the River's Brink. 


enemy entirely by surprise. 
He had evidently been playing 
'possum all the day before, in 
the hope that he might lure us 
into attempting an incautious 
passage at the old bridge, 
where he was doubtless excel- 
lently well prepared to receive 
us. Hence his rage and despair 
at rising in the morning to 
find a " force in being " already 
across the river and moving on 
his flank. He was now making 
strenuous, if somewhat belated, 
efforts to abolish it, doubtless 
realising that it would be again 
so reinforced during the com- 
ing night as to leave him little 
hope of success the following 

As evening drew nigh, there 
took place the most dramatic 
incident of the day. The Sikhs, 
who had been hard pressed 
since morning, began to run 
short of ammunition, and sig- 
nalled across to that effect. 
There was nothing for it but 
to call upon the Pathans, still 
waiting under the lee of the 
island till the fall of darkness 
should permit them to cross, 
to try and get some over the 
river by broad daylight, and 
in face of the enemy. 

Volunteers having been ob- 
tained, two of the still sound 
boats were rushed across the 
sandbank to the water's edge, 
loaded with ammunition boxes, 
and shoved off for the other 
shore all in full view of the 
enemy, and under the cross fire 
of two maxims, to say nothing 
of numerous snipers. Marvel- 
lous to relate, but one of the 
gallant four, 1 who composed the 
two crews, was killed. His com- 

panion, however, seized both 
sculls and managed to bring 
the boat and its precious load 
safely to land. The second boat 
was lucky enough to escape 
with no casualties at all. 

Leaving out of the question 
the extreme gallantry of the 
deed, there is something pecu- 
liarly inspiring to the Briton 
in the picture of the Pathan 
risking his life to bear succour 
to the Sikh in their common 
service of the Raj. The two 
races are widely apart in reli- 
gion, language, and customs. 
While (ex. grat.) the Pathan 
shaves his head, smokes tobacco, 
and eats beef, but is forbidden 
to look upon the wine of any 
colour, the Sikh's faith forbids 
him to slay the sacred cow, 
smoke, or cut his hair. As 
compensation he is under no 
obligation to "down glasses," 
and has a well-developed taste 
for ration rum. If I add the 
generalisation that the Path- 
an's thoughts are chiefly about 
women, and those of the Sikh 
about money, I trust the Eng- 
lish reader will realise that 
they are at least as diverse 
peoples as Ulster Presbyterians 
and Catholic Sinn Feiners. 
Nor are they any less inveter- 
ate and hereditary foes. The 
Sikh, a plainsman whoso origin 
lay in the economic necessity 
of some buffer between India 
and the Pathan raiders from 
the trans-Indus hills, was wont 
cheerfully to burn any cap- 
tured mountaineer in a pig- 
skin, and so destroy him both 
for Time and Eternity. In 
return, unmentionable mutila- 
tion became the portion of any 

1 All four received the Indian " Order of Merit/ 


At the River's Brink. 


unhappy Sikh who fell into 
the hands of the border Ma- 
homedan. These pleasing cus- 
toms are by no means yet 
extinct, as has been witnessed 
in many a recent Frontier cam- 
paign, where the two races 
once more find themselves op- 
posed. Would that the British 
Raj had proved as successful 
in its dealings with the less 
martial races of India as it 
has with the warrior castes : 
it is hard to picture a Bengali 
baboo risking his skin to assist 
(let us say) a Poona Brahmin 
unless, of course, the object 
was attractively seditious! 

Though probably mere co- 
incidence, the triumphant pas- 
sage of the ammunition seemed 
to dispirit the enemy; the 
pressure on the Sikhs forth- 
with began to relax, and by 
dark the firing had almost 
entirely died away. 

Then began the third night 
of the crossing, which bade 
fair to be considerably more 
crowded with incident than 
the previous two. Since the 
Hun was now well aware of 
the line to which the boats 
were committed, and must also 
have known the range to an 
inch, it was taken for granted 
that he would at least spray 
the channel and island with 
his maxims at intervals during 
the night. To distract his at- 
tention, therefore, it was sought 
to delude him with the idea 
that we were abandoning the 
upper crossing in favour of a 
fresh enterprise at the site of 
his old bridge, two miles lower 
down. To this end a portable 
searchlight was rigged up to 

cast its beam across the river 
at this point, and much ham- 
mering and shouting arranged 
for his edification on our bank. 

The Hun is occasionally sur- 
prisingly simple: this appar- 
ently harmonised with his 
preconceptions of British in- 
stability of purpose. He swal- 
lowed the bait with avidity : 
while a furious and incessant 
fusilade wasted itself on the 
bank round the searchlight, 
hardly a shot was fired at the 
area in which the boats plied 
as usual, hour after hour, all 
night long. 

When darkness fell, no more 
than half of these were still 
seaworthy, but those crippled 
and abandoned during the day 
were one by one recovered and 
tinkered up by the sappers, 
till by midnight the whole fleet 
was once more under way. 
Since the only special item of 
excitement on this third night 
was the total loss of one boat, 
upset in mid-stream by a hippo, 
it would be wearisome to dwell 
on it. Suffice it to say that 
to such good effect did the 
volunteer crews lay to it, that 
by dawn not only had the 
numerous wounded of the 
Sikhs been fetched back across 
the river, but the whole of the 
Pathans and also the Gurkhas 
had been landed on the farther 

With the force on the south 
bank thus at last in a position 
to deal faithfully with the foe, 
the episode of " The Forcing of 
'The River'" passes to join 
other memories of a minor side- 
show in The Great War. 


1918.] 17 


IT had been a bitter dis- tillery and transport parks 
appointment to us that the and the Red Cross hospitals 
Russian attack of July 1 had all moved during the 
failed to take Brejani and so night. We were the last to 
open the way to Lemberg. leave, and as we moved along 
We had already fought in the road we saw the terrified 
several retreats, and were villagers- collected in a mass, 
looking forward to a "drive" gazing wide-eyed and listen- 
through the enemy country, ing to the sound of the guns, 
For months we had dreamed gradually getting nearer, 
of getting the enemy on the The morning was dull and 
run. We had heard such cold, but fortunately fine, 
glowing accounts of Lemberg The roads around us were 
Lvov, as our Allies called not chaussde but ordinary dirt 
it from Russian officers who roads, and in wet weather 
had been there, so perhaps it they are a terrible drawback 
can be imagined what a blow to us. 

it was to us when we learned We spent most of the morn- 

on the evening of July 20 ing reconnoitring the roads, 

that the army on our right, as the staff work was already 

which had been so successful, entirely disorganised, and our 

was in full retreat. job was to keep the staff 

News travels slowly in furnished with information as 

Russia. Scarcely had we to the enemy's whereabouts, 

heard of the retreat when We tried several roads, and 

news reached us that the at first found everything quiet, 

retiring army had been com- Overhead, however, the enemy 

pletely turned and the road aeroplanes hovered oontinu- 

from Tarnopol to Brejani ously. We were very badly 

threatened, thereby imperil- served in this respect, and 

ling our own position. All ours were seldom to be seen, 

oars were ordered to stand About eleven o'clock in the 

by in readiness, though as a morning, whilst operating with 

matter of fact this was a the Orenburg Cossacks, we 

mere formality, as we were got into touch with the enemy 

always ready. We left in infantry evidently much to 

the pale grey dawn on the their surprise, for ' they were 

following morning after a calmly advancing in the open, 

hurried cup of tea to wash having thrown discretion to 

the biscuits down. The vil- the winds. It was just the 

lage where we had been chance one prays for, and we 

billeted had evidently re- did not neglect it. We taught 

ceived the news, for the ar- them a severe lesson, and were 



With the Armoured Cars in Galicia. //. 

able to hold up their advance 
for some hours. 

The Austrians had evidently 
advanced so swiftly that they 
had made no effort to dig 
themselves in, and had been 
resting in temporary trenches 
awaiting another rapid ad- 
vance ahead of their artillery. 
About noon the enemy got 
his guns into play, and we 
soon had a hot time. We 
had been using the village of 
Vimisloovka to screen our cars, 
but had to clear out. We 
found cover, however, in ad- 
vance of the village in a dip 
of the road, and waited for 
the next move. We had not 
long to wait, for the infantry 
soon began another advance, 
and going out to meet them 
we got them fair and square, 
and mowed them down in 
hundreds. We on our part 
did not get off scot-free. One 
of our cars was struck by a 
shell splinter, and its engine 
was damaged. The crew tried 
to repair it under heavy fire 
but failed, and so they re- 
moved all guns and spare 
parts and smashed the car 
up, finally setting fire to the 
petrol tank. They were only 
just in time. One of the party 
was badly wounded, but was 
taken away safely. However, 
these lonely efforts could not 
be kept up for long. We had 
held the enemy for several 
hours, and during this time 
the Russians were in full re- 
treat. They flung away their 
rifles and abandoned their 
machine-guns ; took off their 
boots even in order to run 
faster. In vain did their 
officers strive to hold them 


back. We retreated slowly, 
fighting all the time, and 
again had to run the gauntlet 
in the village, which was by 
this time almost destroyed. 
This village was full of peas- 
ants old men, women, and 
children. The fact that it 
was full of their own people 
did not deter the Austrians 
from shelling it. Poor simple 
people ! too well they knew 
what war was. Hammered 
alike by friend and foe, their 
lot was not an enviable one. 
We soon got to the cross- 
roads, and several cars took 
the road to the left, where 
things were beginning to 
liven up. "Ted " like the 
true Irishman he was went 
straight ahead into the thick 
of it, and had "the time of 
his life," as he said. Again 
the enemy were in the open, 
and at almost point - blank 
range he pegged away at them 
until his gun was outed. He 
was quite proud of his oar, 
which had been simply plas- 
tered with bullets ; but in 
spite of the use by the enemy 
of armour - piercing bullets, 
Beardmores justified their 
reputation, and their armour 
kept them out. 

Meanwhile, still farther to 
the left, several oars had out 
across country, ignoring the 
fact that there were no roads, 
mine among the number. An- 
other thrust was beginning, 
and a furious fusilade greeted 
our ears. Making for the spot 
from whence the sound came, 
we passed between two bat- 
teries of field-guns placed in 
the open. Their horses were 
all harnessed ready for mov- 


With the Armoured Cars in Galicia. II. 


ing ; and the guns were belch- 
ing away, firing their few re- 
maining rounds. There in the 
distance we oould see the 
grey -blue uniforms advancing 
in wave after wave, but un- 
fortunately broken ground, 
culminating in a ravine, in- 
tervened, and we oould go 
no farther. It was a strange 
scene. A flash, a roar from 
the field-guns, a puff of white 
smoke over the enemy, and 
some advanced no farther as 
the shrapnel did its deadly 
work. I was talking to the 
Artillery observation officer, 
and he told me in the bitter- 
est language the story of the 
previous day's retreat. Ap- 
parently the pikhod (infantry) 
made no show at all, but ran 
for their lives, and the artil- 
lery, with the greatest diifi- 
oulty, were able to get their 
guns away. We waited ex- 
pectant, for a Finnish regi- 
ment was in the trenches, 
and it had a reputation. The 
seconds went by, and at every 
one we expected it to come 
to grips with the enemy. But 
no another surprise was in 
store for us ; for suddenly, with 
wild shouts and cries, the 
Russian soldiers left the 
trenches and ran for their 
lives, throwing down their 
rifles and their baggage as 
they had done earlier in the 
morning. Surely we were 
dreaming ! Was this the 
Russian soldier who, with 
almost bare fists, had fought 
the Germans during the re- 
treat of 1915? Were these 
men the same race as those 
who had fought with us in 
the Caucasus, in the Dobrudja 

and Roumauia before the 
Revolution? It was a cruel 
blow to us, but it was only 
the beginning. Across the 
plain poured the Russians, 
the last to leave the trenches 
being the colonel, badly 
wounded in the head. Our 
cars were closed for action, 
for we expected the enemy 
to push on, having met with 
no opposition. Thinking, per- 
haps, that we too were going 
to run, the panic - stricken 
soldiers crowded on our oars, 
and we inside were quite help- 
less. As the enemy shrapnel 
burst overhead, more and more 
soldiers crowded on. The ears 
were all too heavily laden to 
move, and the soldiers stand- 
ing round the doors, which 
opened outwards, prevented 
them from being opened. We 
tried to run forward, as we 
knew then they would soon 
desert us ; but torque rods 
broke, and we could not 
move an inch. Heedless of 
whether we killed any of 
them or not, we loosed off with 
the machine guns, and this 
had the desired effect. It 
cleared the soldiers from 
around the doors and enabled 
us to get out. It was then 
easy work, for we simply 
hopped into them with our 
fists, and they were too 
scared to think of retaliation. 
We waited for the oncom- 
ing enemy, but we waited in 
vain and how we cursed the 
ravine that separated us. 
Doubtless our foes were out 
of breath, also perhaps wait- 
ing for their guns to come up. 
For three hours we waited on 
this open plain absolutely alone, 


With the Armoured Cars in Galicia. II. 


knowing nothing of how things 
were going on around us, 
though the huge fires of burn- 
ing villages and terrific ex- 
plosions of ammunition dumps 
told us that the Russians were 
still retreating everywhere and 
destroying everything in their 
retreat. However, we hoped 
to have the honour of holding 
up the enemy single-handed, 
and had they advanced it 
would have been easy, for the 
Austrian is no fighter. He 
looks nice with his rows of 
gaudy ribbons, but, though I 
suppose we must not despise 
him, he outs a very poor figure 
without help from the Boohe. 
Towards evening we got sick 
of waiting petrol was scarce 
too so we went into Kosoovka, 
a tiny little village, intending 
to report at Kosova, which had 
been the site of our Head- 
quarters. On the way we 
met a large oar containing 
a number of Staff officers, and 
a colonel hailed us in vile 
French and said, "English- 
men, where are you going ? " 
In equally vile French we ex- 
plained the position, telling 
him that as we had been on 
our own for three hours we 
thought it was time to get on 
to the main road our one and 
only line of retreat. He was a 
cheery optimist, and told us 
that a regiment would be up 
in a few moments, and that 
the advance of the enemy 
would soon be checked. Hav- 
ing witnessed several cross- 
country runs, which would 
have been a credit to any 
Harriers' club, we did not 
share his optimism ; but it 
was not for us to reason why, 

so we went back again, one car 
being despatched for petrol. 

With the sun getting low in 
the heavens, we took up our 
lone stand, and after about 
half an hour the long-looked- 
for supports came up, and the 
usual introductions and hand- 
shakings took place. The plan 
of action was then made known 
to the men, and we witnessed 
a degrading spectacle. There, 
with the Austrians preparing 
for a further advance, the 
" deputies " of the regiment 
had to convene a meeting to 
decide whether they were suf- 
ficiently strong a force to do 
the required work. Their de- 
cision, however, was hastened 
by the enemy, who, having 
got his guns up, sent a few 
rounds of shrapnel overhead 
as a reminder that we were 
at war, and not playing at 
politics. The first casualty 
soon occurred, one brawny 
fellow near me getting a good 
lump of shrapnel in the part 
of his anatomy used as seat- 
ing accommodation. His piti- 
ful wail, " Oy tavarish 
oy tavarish " (oh, comrade) 
brought to my mind the fact 
that I had a flask of vodka 
the pre-war drink of all the 
Russias. I emptied my flask 
down his throat, but the only 
effect it had was to make him 
violently sick and extremely 
blasphemous. What base in- 
gratitude ! The sun made its 
last bow, and just to enliven 
the monotony, enemy aero- 
planes paid us a visit. Fly- 
ing very low, they had no 
difficulty in spotting our cars, 
and we had a very worrying 
time. Without an atom of 


With the Armoured Cars in Galicia. //. 


cover to conceal us, we were 
easy victims for their prying 
eyes, and again and again we 
had to move our oars from 
place to place; but wherever 
we went a salvo of shells 
followed us. Eventually we 
got tired of this game of 
" tip and run," so gave it up, 
and let the enemy have a little 
target practice, when we were 
surprised to find out what 
rotten shots they were agree- 
ably surprised, I should say. 
We have often said jokingly, 
"When in doubt light a 
Primus," for all our cars are 
equipped with them; so we 
got one on the go and pre- 
pared a meal if bully and 
biscuits can be so named. 

We began to feel grateful for 
the dusk and the quiet, when 
suddenly a confusion of sounds 
greeted our ears, and there on 
the skyline we could discern 
a long line of figures coming 
towards us. We soon realised 
what it was. The division on 
our left, defending the chauss6e 
road, had just bolted from the 
trenches. We expected at least 
that the enemy were on the 
top of them, so we got on board 
and fingered the old " maxims " 
lovingly. At the double came 
the Russians, their cross-country 
run culminating in such a sprint 
that as they reached us they 
collapsed in all stages of panic 
and exhaustion. But I will 
not dwell on it, for it was too 
pitiful for words. We were 
very worried, for with this 
division we had several guns' 
crews, and we wondered what 
their fate was. These fellows 
had worked laboriously, hauling 
their guns into the trenches in 

order to cover the chausstie road 
to Bejani if the enemy at- 
tempted to use cars on that 
road. As soon as our C.O. 
realised these guns were not 
likely to be used he endeavoured 
to obtain permission to with- 
draw the guns, as both they 
and the crews had been exposed 
for days to heavy shell fire. 
This was refused, and it was 
pointed out that our men a 
mere handful were keeping a 
whole division in the trenches, 
amazing as it sounds. How- 
ever, we heard later on that the 
guns had been smashed up and 
the crews had got safely away, 
so our anxiety was somewhat 
allayed. We waited some time 
for the continuation of the 
enemy advance, but night came 
on and nothing more happened. 
I must confess we were all 
rather relieved when orders 
came from the Staff advising 
us that a further " retirement " 
was contemplated during the 
night, and as our cars were 
required in a different district 
on the morrow we had to get 
a move on. Our destination 
was an aerodrome on the road 
to Buchaoh, but as a part of 
this road was out a detour 
was necessary. We already 
had had eighteen hours of it 
and were fagged out, so the 
journey of twenty miles did 
not appeal to us. Our de- 
tour was not very successful 
either. We were going along 
groping in the dark when our 
passage was arrested by two 
huge shell-holes 12 inohers 
right across the road, so an- 
other detour was necessary 
this time across country. Every 
one was confident he knew the 


With the Armoured Cars in Galicia. II. 


way, but nobody really did. 
However we followed the lights 
of the Holla Royoe which were 
the best, and trusted to luck. 
Again and again we got on 
the wrong track. Their name 
was "legion," and there was 
nothing whatever to guide us, 
though we knew roughly the 
required direction. The guns 
thundered ominously, and the 
whole countryside appeared to 
be lighted up, shedding a lurid 
glow in the sky. Endeavouring 
to follow the lights of the 
Rolls Royce, the oar immedi- 
ately in front of mine got 
bogged and we had to extricate 
it and work out our own salva- 
tion. How we toiled and cursed, 
encouraged and coaxed, till 
finally as a reward we reached 
the chausse'e road from Buohach 
to Brejani. Here the confusion 
was appalling, and our pace was 
instantly reduced to about two 
miles per hour. Amid fearful 
congestion, all the impediments 
of a huge army struggled 
along in an endless procession 
streams of guns, transport 
waggons, ammunition limbers. 
Infantry, cavalry, and artillery 
were in full flight the former 
hopelessly and helplessly panic- 
stricken, the night air resound- 
ing with their cries of fear 
intermingled with foul oaths. 
One would see huge American 
naval guns transported in three 
pieces, each section being drawn 
by fourteen horses. Only two 
days previously these guns had 
relentlessly pounded the enemy 
lines. A noisy, thumping 
steam-roller gave a touch of 
grim humour to the tragedy. 
We recalled the catch phrase 
"The Russian steam-roller." 

An entire lack of organisation 
was noticeable, and we, who 
had hoped for so much from 
our Russian Allies, found our- 
selves carried along on the 
ebbing tide in the midst of a 
terrified mob whose one and 
only idea seemed to be to put 
as much space between them- 
selves and their enemy as 

We barged our way through 
with much blowing of Klaxons, 
and eventually reached Pod- 
gaitse a town of sorts. Here 
the confusion was worse than 
ever, and to add to our dis- 
comfort, rain came down in 
torrents. Podgaitse was full 
of hospitals, including an 
English hospital, and many 
of the hospitals found the 
transport placed at their dis- 
posal hopelessly inadequate. 
Someone had blundered. There 
was only one thing to be 
done, and that was to get the 
wounded and the sisters away 
as quickly as possible, and this 
was done. Stretchers would 
be lifted on bumping transport 
waggons; nurses, having bade 
a tender farewell to their 
worldly possessions, perched 
themselves on gun - carriages 
and travelling cook - houses. 
I remember passing one sister 
trudging along in the mud 
and rain. I stopped my car 
and inquired in my best Rus- 
sian which was pretty bad, 
I admit if I could give her 
a lift. Though a Russian, she 
replied in perfect English, 
"No, thank you my patients 
are on these two waggons and 
I don't want to lose them." 
At all events, she had pluck. 
Progress became slower and 


With the Armoured Cars in Galicia. II. 


slower, but at length we 
reached our aerodrome just as 
dawn was breaking. Tired, 
grimy, and extremely depressed, 
we had a oup of tea and some 
food, and dropped asleep on 
the ground. How we blessed 
the thoughtful Camp Com- 
mandant for that welcome cup 
of tea. 

We were not to sleep long, 
however, for about seven 
o'clock we were all turned 
out to look over our oars and 
replenish our stores of petrol 
and ammunition ready for a 
further effort, No news came 
to us, but the state of the 
roads with its endless pro- 
cession told us all we wanted 
to know. A number of British 
aviators were at the aero- 
drome, including poor Jimmy 
Valentine who has since died 
at Kieff. They intended fly- 
ing their machines away and 
leaving us to burn the place 
down, which we did later. 

At eleven o'clock we got 
our marching orders. A 
squadron of oars waja ordered 
to go along the chamse'e road 
through Podgaitse to a small 
village called Moojiloor, which 
we had passed the previous 
night. As we left the camp, 
the inevitable camera fiend, in 
the shape of the 'Daily 
Mirror* man, turned up 
goodness knows from where 
and we had to face the camera. 
I have not seen him since, but 
I hope he got away safely. 
Our progress was slow, owing 
to the badly organised traffic, 
which at times completely 
blocked the roads, and the 
continual stopping warmed 
our oars up to such an extent 

that it necessitated a halt in 
the market square of Podgaitse 
in order to fill up the radiators 
with water. Podgaitse in day- 
light was not a bad little 
town, peopled by Austrian 
Poles and Jews. It was, how- 
ever, very war-worn, and the 
majority of the best houses 
had been converted into hos- 
pitals. These had all been 
evacuated, giving the place 
a very deserted appearance. 
We were proceeding to fill up 
our radiators in a leisurely 
manner, when suddenly, with 
screams and cries of " Nemetski 
cavalari " (German cavalry), 
horses with carts driven by 
frenzied drivers galloped into 
the town. Anticipating trouble, 
we at once endeavoured to get 
our ears across the road to 
form a barrier, but we were 
not quite quick enough. In 
vain did we plead with them, 
expostulate with them, curse 
them, and even threaten them. 
We stood in the streets and 
pointed revolvers at the mob, 
and told the terror-stricken 
" tavarish " (comrade used 
since the Revolution) that it 
was only the work of German 
agents. "S'monoclem" (the 
gent with a monocle), who 
was an excellent Russian 
linguist, was in fine form; 
but even his flow of patriotic 
eloquence failed to move the 
Russians. It was perfectly 
useless. One and all had seen 
the German lancers driving 
the fleeing Russian infantry 
before them. Wonderful im- 
aginations they were gifted 

To give a touch of realism 
to the scene, a travelling cook- 


With the Armoured Cars in Galicia. //. 


house, going at full gallop, col- 
lided with a loaded ammunition 
limber and an explosion en- 
sued. "They're shelling us," 
wailed the mob, by this time 
hopelessly blocked in the narrow 
streets. I am attempting the 
impossible when I try to de- 
scribe it. In less than ten min- 
utes from the commencement 
the whole town was packed 
tight with transport coming 
from all directions and trying 
to go in one away from the 
enemy. Horses and carts over- 
turned in heaps, horses with 
legs broken and with hoofs torn 
off, writhing in their dying 
agony a howling, frenzied 
mob : such was the sight. To 
lighten their carts and so facili- 
tate retreat, drivers emptied 
their loads anywhere. Sacks of 
sugar, flour, bales of provender, 
officers' kits, cases of hand- 
grenades, field-gun ammunition, 
spare wheels, and even over- 
coats and rifles, were all thrown 
into the streets. Many drivers 
even cut their traces and, 
mounting their horses, left their 
carts behind. At the windows 
were the grinning faces of the 
civil population. To 'them it 
was a huge joke, but to 

us -. My fingers itched to 

empty my Webley Automatic 
into them. Doubtless a Hun 
would have done so. Think- 
ing that perhaps it was as 
well to find out if there really 
was anything in it, we went 
into an empty house, got into 
the garret, smashed a hole 
in the roof, and had a look 
round through our field-glasses. 
Everything was quiet even 
peaceful. There in the valley, 
thrje miles distant, we could 

see cattle grazing peacefully. 
We returned to our cars and 
tried to persuade the crowd 
that they had been mistaken, 
but "they didn't believe us." 
We spent the next hour organ- 
ising the traffic so that they 
could get away. A Cossack 
officer helped us, using his 
" knout " (a lead-tipped whip) 
very freely. He was the only 
Russian officer we saw. We 
heard later that this panic 
spread the entire length of the 
road through Buohach, Chert- 
kov, to Husiatyu on the fron- 
tier, and terrible scenes were 
witnessed. It was all a put- 
up job by the Germans, but 
it worked very well. In this 
stunt we had a transport car 
so badly damaged that it was 
not worth removing. We set 
fire to it, leaving nothing for 
the Hun except our cards with 
an invitation to come along, as 
we were anxious to renew his 
acquaintance, and a few days 
later he accepted our invitation. 
After a delay of nearly four 
hours, we eventually reached 
our intended destination and 
reported to the Staff at Moo- 
jiloov. There we learned that 
a retirement to Podgaitse was 
contemplated during the night. 
The exodus of the transport 
had left the men at the front 
with no food or reserve of 
ammunition. Nothing of inci- 
dent occurred during the night, 
though we had a scrap or two 
with enemy advanced posts 
and dispersed them. The re- 
tirement was effected success- 
fully and without loss. Un- 
fortunately these retirements 
were yielding to the enemy 
thousands of acres of rich land, 


With the Armoured Cars in Galicia. //. 


with magnificent crops almost 
ready for the reaper. The 
enemy had doubtless chosen 
this moment to replenish his 

In the early hours of July 
23 we learned that the enemy 
was advancing from the north 
through Tarnopol in the direc- 
tion of Buohaoh, hoping to 
out off the defenders of the 
Buohaoh-Brejani road, which 
ran from east to west. The 
new advance was particularly 
rapid, and we were at once 
rushed back from our sector 
and sent up there. The morn- 
ing was a miserable one. Most 
mornings are if you make their 
acquaintance too early. A 
bitterly cold wind swept across 
the country, and the sky was 
dull and gloomy. It compared 
very favourably with our minds 
and tempers. Our road was a 
magnificent one, quite as good 
as an English road. Every- 
where were the retreating Rus- 
sians, many of them with the 
left hand bandaged. Infantry, 
artillery, with their attendant 
transport, straggled all over 
the road, and our progress was 
painfully slow. Not a trace 
of disappointment could be seen 
on the faces of the Russians. 
They were glad to be coming 
away from the fighting, and 
our cars going towards the 
enemy provoked cries of deri- 
sion. This does not, of course, 
apply to the officers, who were 
desperately brave but could do 
nothing alone. About eight 
o'clock we reached the tiny 
village of Kamiloovka, where 
the Carps' Headquarters were 
stationed, and at once reported 
to the Chief of the Corps. 

The General fortunately spoke 
perfect English, and at once 
admitted the sad state of 
affairs and his lack of infor- 
mation, which he hoped we 
should be able to correct. He 
also ordered us to shoot down 
any troops we met retreating ; 
but when it was explained to 
him that this was impossible 
for us, he withdrew this order 
though rather reluctantly. 

We left the village and 
reached Darakoov, about six 
versts distant, where we split 
forces some cars going 
straight along the chaussde 
road towards Tarnopol, and 
others turning to the left and 
striking across country. My 
car was among the latter, and 
our objective was first a small 
hamlet where the divisional 
headquarters had been. On 
the way we got bogged in the 
soft earth, and our oar refused 
to pull herself out owing to the 
epicyolio gears slipping, so it 
was a case of "Take her up 
another notch, Bill" a catch 
phrase of ours. While this was 
being done shells begau to fall 
in our vicinity, and we could 
not make out from which 
direction they were coming. 
We reached the hamlet, which 
was deserted and was being 
shelled, and went four miles 
the other side of it. The only 
people we saw were two 
Russian soldiers, one of whom 
was wounded. Both of them 
advanced to us with their arms 
up in the air, in the approved 
Kamerad manner, thinking we 
were enemy cars. We cursed 
them and went on. We went 
along country and into villages 
reported to have been long in 

26 With the Armoured Cars in Galicia. II. [Jan. 

the enemy's hands, and found ing Fritz and his ally along 
neither friend nor foe there, so the road any moment, we 
about eleven o'clock we re- thought they were mad, and 
turned to Darakoov to compare were impolite enough to tell 
notes with the other oars, them so. However, they had 
Their experiences had been just actually been given permission 
the same. They had been from some one at the Staff, 
down the road for ten miles and no words of ours could 
and had seen nothing except prevent them from going, much 
a squadron of Cossacks, but as we tried. About two hours 
they too had been shelled. We afterwards we paid another 
sent in the results of our visit to the hamlet Pan- 
reconnaissance to the General, tiloovka it was called and 
who seemed more than sur- found the enemy just entering 
prised, and again we set off, the village, apparently advanc- 
this time to find and engage ing from a north - easterly 
the enemy. We took the same direction. We got them en- 
routes as before, and the cross- tirely by surprise at a range 
country oars again were shelled, of 200 yards, and drove them 
When we reached the small out, killing a large number, 
hamlet we found that shell Our enemy this time were 
after shell was being pumped Germans, and it gave us much 
into it, and to our amazement more satisfaction to get up 
discovered that it was the against them. 
Russian artillery shelling an Apparently they had had 
empty hamlet and our own enough, for though we waited 
oars. A message was sent in for another venture they did 
to the General, who inquired not come again. A motor- 
into the matter and had things cyclist came tearing up to 
righted with apologies to us. order us all on the chausse'e 
About twelve o'clock we were road, as the enemy was ad- 
surprised to see a Red Cross vancing beyond Darakoov. 
convoy, composed of about We dashed back, and again 
thirty waggons, coming along were able to do great execu- 
the road, making towards tion, getting excellent targets. 
Tarnopol. When it came up, Though the enemy was in open 
we recognised old acquaint- order, we were able to arrest 
anoes of ours, they having been the frontal attack absolutely ; 
stationed only two versts away but as no Russian infantry 
from us before the retreat was within five versts, and the 
commenced. Count and enemy had managed to ad- 
Princess both spoke ex- vance further south over bad 

oellent English, so we had ground, we were obliged to 

quite a pow-wow. We inquired withdraw slightly for fear of 

where they were going, and to having the chausse'e road out 

our astonishment they told us behind us. We wondered what 

they intended setting up an had become of the hospital, 

hospital about five versts along and dreamed of wonderful 

the road. As we were expect- rescues ! We took up a posi- 


With the Armoured Cars in Galicia. 77. 


tion to the south of the village, 
where a hill gave us good 
observation, and from there we 
kept the Huns at bay for many 
hours. We allowed them to 
reach the village, and then 
popped up from behind houses 
and other cover, and drove 
them off. These tactics were 
very successful, and we killed 
quite a number. "S'monoclem" 
noticed a courtyard full as he 
passed through the street. He 
stopped at once and reversed, 
and met them all in the gate- 
way at point-blank range, and 
did great execution. Later he 
got a bullet through the arm, 
but was able to carry on. 
Enemy reinforcements arrived 
and got a footing in the south- 
western edge of the village 
with machine-guns, which they 
mounted in houses. We sent 
a message to the Corps Com- 
mander stating that we could 
hold on, and with infantry 
reinforcements could recapture 
the lost portion of the village. 
The General replied that he 
had no infantry on whom he 
could depend, but urged us to 
hold on. About 4.30 the Ger- 
mans endeavoured to advance 
from Darakoov to Kamiloovka, 
but having advanced so far 
ahead of their artillery, we 
were easily able to hold them, 
and though many attempts 
were made, they were all re- 
pulsed with heavy loss. One 
solitary field-gun was brought 
up to clear the enemy machine- 
guns from their new positions, 
and it was taken so close under 
cover of our oars that we act- 
ually witnessed the rather 
unusual sight of a duel be- 
tween enemy machine-gunners 

and the Russian artillerists, as 
they are called. The houses 
were destroyed, and what oc- 
cupants escaped came under 
the fire of our machine-guns. 
About six o'clock the position 
remained as it had been two 
hours previously the enemy 
in part possession of the vil- 
lage, but unable to occupy the 
whole. An hour later a Rus- 
sian battalion took up a posi- 
tion about 1500 yards from 
the enemy, and our cars re- 
mained between them and the 
enemy for the night, 

The next day the O.C. re- 
ported to the Staff, who had 
moved back to Lyaskootse and 
found the whole Staff de- 
jected and suffering from the 
very severe strain to which 
they had been subjected during 
the last few days. The Corps 
Commander told us that of his 
four divisions two refused to 
move. He begged us to do all 
we could to hinder the advance, 
though he knew sooner or later 
the enemy artillery would drive 
us back. Then he wept a 
most moving sight. He was 
a fine soldier and a nice man. 
On arriving at the cars we 
found everything had been 
quiet, but very shortly after 
the enemy began to advance in 
waves through the standing 
corn. In the distance we could 
distinctly see mounted Staff 
officers spying out the land 
and making their plans for a 
further advance. As soon as 
the enemy advance commenced 
the Russian troops on the right 
of the road left their hastily 
dug trenches and ran off. 
During the night we had got 
up an armoured car with a 


With the Armoured Cars in Galicia. //. 


small gun mounted, and tak- 
ing it close to the village we 
pounded away at the newly 
chosen machine-gun positions, 
while the light oars ran into 
the village, getting behind the 
advancing Huns. The advance 
was stopped, but in this scrap 
several men had been wounded, 
necessitating fresh dispositions 
of crews. The Huns decided 
that we were a nuisance to 
them, so they dropped their 
ideas of an advance and began 
shelling the road very heavily 
and fairly accurately. Our 
C.O. was walking up to the 
oars when a shell fell at his 
feet, but fortunately it was a 
dud. He finished the journey 
on a reserve armoured oar, but 
a shell put this oar out of action 
before he reached his destina- 
tion. Then came the news 
that the enemy, unable to 
advance on Kamiloovka by 
means of frontal attacks, was 
trying to envelop the village 
and the road behind, We could 
not go across country, as 
some rain had fallen during 
the night, so we stuck to 
the road, ignoring shell fire 
and maintaining a steady fire 
every time the enemy attempted 
to move. So far the Russian 
battalion on the left of the 
road had fought well, but it 
began to waver under shell fire 
from three sides. The soldiers 
left their trenches, then went 
back, only to get up again 
and run for it. Caught by a 
veritable storm of shrapnel, 
they were wiped out almost to 
a man a terrible sight. 

Left alone, the fighting be- 
came very hard. Through 
some unknown reason pos- 

sibly a shell fragment the 
Bolls Boyoe caught fire and its 
occupants had to bundle out 
in the road. Seeing them, 
machine-guns were turned on 
the car by the enemy ; but the 
crew lying on the road were 
able to extinguish tlie fire, and 
the driver got on board some- 
how, started his engine, and 
drove the car out of action, 
the remainder of the crew 
clinging to the outside. Almost 
directly afterwards a shell went 
clean through another ar- 
moured car, wounding the 
officer in charge, as well as the 
gunner and driver. The second 
gunner was untouched. The 
driver, though he fainted twice, 
was able to drive them all 
safely out of action. The 
village was now on fire, and 
the road was seriously threat- 
ened, being shelled for seven 
versts behind us. One of our 
officers having been sent to the 
Staff, found the bridge across 
the road destroyed, so taking a 
motor-cycle he got through on 
that, only to have his bike 
smashed to pieces in another 
wild stampede. He had to 
walk, standing a fair chance of 
getting captured, but after a 
tramp of eight and a half 
hours he reached Buohach in 
time to board the last car leav- 
ing the place. Eventually we 
received an order from the 
Staff that as the withdrawal 
was effected further resistance 
was useless, and we were to 
retire at once. Curiously 
enough, whilst we were firing 
our last belt off, a shell burst 
under the oar commanded by 
the Slon (Elephant) and blew 
the engine clean up in the air 


With the Armoured Cars in Galicia. 17. 


without touching a man. All 
the guns, &o,, were taken 
away. The Slon had done 
great execution, getting off 
30,000 rounds that day. 

Without further incident we 
journeyed back to Buohach, 
only to learn that another 
panic, more serious than the 
previous ones, had just taken 
place. Fortunately the Wild 
Division from the Caucasus had 
arrived there, and they man- 
aged to keep a certain amount 
of order. That night orders 
reached us that a retirement 
was contemplated during the 
night to the line of the river 
Sereth, which the Russian Staff 
thought could be held easily, 
so we were told to fall back on 
Chertkov and camp for the 
night. Armoured oars are 
not very suitable for night 
operations, and though we 
travelled a good deal at night 
we rarely did any fighting 
in the dark. Also the rapid- 
ity of the retreat gave us 
no chance of learning much 
about the country, and the 
total ignorance of the Staff 
of the enemy's whereabouts 
necessitated our feeling our 
way. We reached Chertkov 
about ten o'clock, and camped 
close to the road. We were 
very tired, the ceaseless rum- 
ble of carts and waggons did 
not trouble us much, and we 
managed to get in a few hours' 
well-earned rest. Early the 
next morning we went to 
Chertkov and reported to the 
Staff. We had changed our 
Corps, as our late Corps was 
no longer operating along 
chaussfa roads. Our one and 
only line of retreat lay along 

the road running from Chert- 
kov to Husiatyu, thence to 
Proskurov and Kiev, hence 
the change. There being no 
immediate orders for us, a few 
of us went to the hotel of the 
town which was quite a nice 
little place and had a good 
breakfast of coffee, omelette, 
and rolls. The landlady was 
a thorough Austrian, but she 
treated us well. Aeroplanes 
flew over the town, and why 
they never attempted to bomb 
the retreating Russians, or use 
their machine-guns on them, 
I could never imagine. We 
ordered a bath at the hotel, 
and while it was being pre- 
pared went and got shaved 
and shampooed, for we were 
beastly dirty, and then we set 
out to buy a few luxuries. At 
both shops we visited the shop- 
keepers spoke English. One 
of them, quite a young man, 
said he hoped the Austrians 
would not take Chertkov. Be- 
fore the war, he told us, he 
had been too young for mili- 
tary service, but now he was 
eligible. We went back to the 
hotel and found the bath pre- 
pared by an over-dressed boy 
of thirteen, who smoked a 
large rank cigar with a non- 
chalant air. There was only 
one bath, so S'monoolem and 
I shared it, and it was easily 
the best bath I have ever had. 
We were wallowing in it to 
our heart's content when a 
message came that we were 
required at the Staff at once. 
In due ooure we got there, and 
were then told the news. 

Apparently the Russians had 
retreated across the Sereth in 
one spot near Trembovla with- 


With the Armoured Cars in Galicia. 17. 


out attempting to destroy the 
bridges, and of course the enemy 
calmly followed them. A good 
Finnish division had been de- 
spatched up there and were 
holding them, and our cars 
were needed at once. It was 
roughly forty-five miles from 
where we were, and we had to 
be there in two hours, which, 
considering the congested state 
of the roads, was wellnigh im- 
possible. Still we went for 
our lives, with Klaxons going, 
and emulating the tactics of a 
" tank " pushed aside all ob- 
stacles, and were only ten 
minutes late. We found the 
Chief of the Division on a hill 
just behind his front line, and 
told him we had come up for a 
scrap. To our disgust he was 
unable to use us, as some Belgian 
armoured oars were attached 
to him, and he had more of 
these than he really required. 
They had done splendid work 
too. This division was fighting 
well, and though many of the 
enemy had crossed the river, 
only a few had been able to 
establish themselves there. We 
were ordered to stand by until 
dusk, when we left and settled 
for the night at Kopyozincze 
you can pronounce it how you 
like. C.O. had to go into 
Chertkov, but owing to some 
little accident, caused by trying 
once again to emulate the tac- 
tics of a "tank," his lights got 
outed, and he had to sleep in 
his car on the roadside and go 
on next morning. During the 
night there had been appalling 
disorder in Chertkov. Practi- 
cally every shop in the place 
had been looted. The steel 
shop doors and window shut- 
ters had been wrenched open 

and the places entirely wrecked. 
In the roadway were heaps of 
books, gramophones, and rec- 
ords, articles of clothing, and 
all manner of things. 

Meanwhile at Kopyozincze we 
had settled down for the night, 
and waited about till the C.O. 
returned. About ten o'clock 
next morning (July 26th) we 
were watching the dreary pro- 
cession pass us when we spotted 
the Count and his hospital 
among the crowd. He at once 
came up to us and thanked us, 
telling us that owing to our 
oars having held up the Huns 
at Darakoov, he and his hospital 
had been just able to retreat in 
time. Needless to say we were 
very popular with the ladies. 
We were all very glad to meet 
once again, for we had been 
good friends and had been 
worried on their account. 
Shortly after we met the 
General of the Corps with whom 
we had done so well, and re- 
fusing to listen to the fact that 
we had been transferred to an- 
other corps, he at once sent us off 
into action. Evidently during 
the night the enemy had effected 
many crossings of the Sereth, 
and was advancing down the 
road from Tarnopol to Chert- 
kov. This also was a magnifi- 
cent road, but from our point 
of view the country was none 
too good. Huge forests ap- 
proached the road on either 
side, and while they doubtless 
had their good points, it would 
have been an easy matter to 
have felled trees behind us. 
We turned off the road to the 
left and following the tracks 
entered the village of Kobelov- 
loki, taking German cavalry 
by surprise. The enemy's ad- 


With the Armoured Cars in Galicia. //. 


vanoe was becoming more 
cautious, and this was the first 
occasion we had encountered 
cavalry. We cleared the vil- 
lage, and going beyond it 
drove off several other cavalry 
patrols with severe losses to 
them. We were then recalled 
and despatched to another spot 
farther down, where help was 
badly needed. Unfortunately, 
it was necessary to cross a small 
stream, and during the retreat 
the light bridge had been badly 
broken. Though we worked 
hard to repair it we could do 
nothing, and had to retire to 
Kopyozinoze. It was about 
9 P.M. when we reported to 
the General, who thanked us 
warmly for our work. He had 
received instructions from the 
Army to hand us over to the 
corps on his left, so this time 
we had to say good-bye for 

On going back through the 
village we found looting going 
on everywhere. The infantry 
being in full flight, meant to 
take away all they could, and 
ransacked house after house, 
taking all. They visited a 
house immediately opposite us 
about twenty of them and 
began to file out with carpets, 
articles of clothing, ornaments, 
&o. Some of these they did 
not like when they got them 
outside, so they calmly threw 
them in the street. We could 
stand it no longer, and "Ted" 
was the first in. Seizing man 
after man he threw them out, 
whilst " S'monoolem " smote 
them hard with a huge ash 
stick he was in the habit of 
carrying. We all rushed over 
and joined in, and for a time 
things looked ugly. Many of 

the Russian soldiers were 
stunned and out about the 
head, but we didn't care. 
The situation was saved by 
" S'monoolem," who in a 
wonderful speech appealed to 
the soldiers to behave as 
Russians. This had the desired 
effect, and the looting ceased. 

Again we flitted by moon- 
light this time bound for 
Husiatyu, the frontier town. 
On the road we passed a rather 
ghastly sight, for nailed to a 
tree we saw the body of a man 
with a huge notice over his 
head. We got out to see what 
it was, and found it was the 
body of a " provocateur " who 
had started a panic. He was 
killed by the Cossacks, and his 
body nailed up there with a 
notice in Russian and German 
as a warning to others. We 
halted by the roadside about 
eleven o'clock, and tried to 
sleep, but it was much too cold. 
I spent the whole night walking 
about, my teeth rattling like 
castanets. Next morning quite 
early we reached Husiatyu. 
How strange it was. Barely 
two months had elapsed since 
we passed through the station 
in a special train loaded with 
oars the carriages labelled 
"Lemberg vid Buohach," and 
now what a difference. The 
state of our oars by this time 
was terrible, and only two 
armoured oars were really fit 
for action. These remained at 
Husiatyu and had a brush with 
the enemy late in the afternoon. 
Next day they patrolled the 
road in front of Husiatyu and 
were the last to cross the bridge 
over the river dividing Austrian 
Husiatyu from Russian Husi- 
atyu, which was blown up 


With the Armoured Cars in Galicia. 77. 


behind them. They did not get 
much fighting, however, for the 
enemy advance was getting 
more and more cautious, and 
no doubt he was as tired as 
we were. We fell back to 
Khootkovtse, about 16 versts 
from the frontier along the 
Proskurov road, and by the 
evening of July 29 nearly all 
our oars had been patched up 
ready for action again. 

Next morning these oars were 
sent to Ahhovtse 3 versts from 
the frontier. The enemy had 
crossed the river and was trying 
to eject the Russians from their 
trenches. The Russians, who 
were fighting on their own 
territory, were putting up a 
better show and hoped to be 
able to hold on. The crossing 
of the river was undertaken by 
a division of Turks and a 
division of Austrians, both of 
which had been filled up with 
vodka beforehand, as we learned 
from prisoners. They fought 
like fiends, but suffered very 
heavy losses. The oars were 
in action many times during 
the day, "Wallie" doing par- 
ticularly good work in the 
town of Husiatyu. Towards 
evening the artillery began to 
oome up and things got de- 
cidedly warm. In the morning 
we stood by for the enemy's 
next move. With the exception 
of a few battalions across the 
river, both sides were entrenched 
the one in Austrian Husiatyu 
and the other in Russian 
Husiatyu, with a distance of 
about 1200 yards between. 
During the night the enemy 
had got up a good deal of 
artillery,inoluding four-inch and 
six-inch howitzers, whilst the 

Russians had nothing but field- 
guns, having sent their heavy 
guns farther back. Shortly 
after ten o'clock the enemy at- 
tempted to attack the Russian 
trenches, whilst under cover of 
the guns supports crossed the 
river. Our oars were rushed 
in, and at once a heavy barrage 
was put across the road and 
behind the Russian trenches. 
One car was soon outed, but 
the others got through, though 
they were only just able to 
discern the enemy through the 
smoke and dust. The road was 
badly out up in addition. A 
steady fire was maintained on 
the enemy, who eventually 
withdrew with severe losses, 
though the supports had been 
enabled to cross the river in 
the meantime. The remainder 
of the day was intensely hot 
and very quiet, and as we sat 
on the road little disturbed us. 
I remember how upset one dear 
old lady was because we cut 
some branches off her trees to 
shield our cars better from 
aerial observation. We were 
polite but firm, and took more 
branches. About noon the 
enemy took a dislike to the 
Church in the Russian village, 
and so amused himself with a 
little target practice. Out of 
six shots fired big stuff they 
were too four were direct hits, 
and the Church was soon in 
ruins, in company with such 
famous buildings as Rheims 
Cathedral and the old Cloth 
Hall of Ypres. How these Ger- 
man swine love destruction. 

At six in the evening it was 
decided to drive the Germans 
across the river by means of 
a counter-attack, in which our 


With the Armoured Cars in Galicia. II. 


oars and an armoured train 
were to participate. An hour's 
artillery preparation was to 
precede the attack, and the 
oars were to leave the village 
at 7.55 to give encouragement 
to the infantry going over the 
top at eight o'clock. The 
bombardment commenced, and 
Fritz answered not a word. 
The minutes passed, and at 
7.50 we started up our engines 
and emptied our oars of all un- 
necessary impedimenta, for this 
was the real thing again. At 
five minutes to eight we dashed 
off for the front line, but no 
sooner had we shown our noses 
over the hill than a terrific fire 
was put on the road and the 
Russian trenehes. The troops 
in the trenches a Siberian 
regiment led by their gallant 
colonel, went over the top and 
advanced under this fire, and 
in face of a murderous machine- 
gun fire, with magnificent cour- 
age. The " Slon " gat through 
the barrage, though how he 
did it he doesn't remember, and 
made for the enemy trenches. 
He pumped lead into them for 
some minutes till a piece of 
shell blew the end off his 
machine-gun, and then he re- 
tired. His oar had four shell- 
holes in it when he returned. 
The armoured train had done 
good work, but the artillery 
was too feeble, and the attack 
failed. The losses OH the Rus- 
sian side had been awful. 
Early next morning the enemy 
was driven across the river, 
and both sides commenoed to 
entrench and sit tight. Thus 
on August 3 ended the retreat 
from Galicia. 

Recriminations are, of course, 

useless. The Revolution may 
have been necessary. I sup- 
pose it was, but with it came 
the advent of the political 
agitator, who alone is respon- 
sible for the present deplor- 
able state of the Russian army. 
Without morale or discipline 
an army ceases to exist, and 
during the last days of July 
and the commencement of 
August I was reluctantly com- 
pelled to admit that the mag- 
nificent Russian army no 
longer existed, but in its place 
was merely an armed rabble. 
Before I finish I must relate 
one scene I witnessed just 
after the retreat had been 
stopped. Going to Proskurov, 
I passed a number of soldiers, 
probably two thousand, ad- 
vancing in extended order 
across country, but away from 
the front to be Irish. Man- 
oeuvres, I thought, and forgot 
it, till a mile down the road I 
met an armoured oar (Russian) 
and some Cossacks, and farther 
back a line of infantry roughly 
entrenched, facing in my direc- 
tion, and then two batteries of 
guns. I was curious, so I in- 
quired what was going on, and 
was informed that a regiment 
of Guards having murdered 
their colonel and their bat- 
talion commanders, and refused 
to go into the trenches, the 
others had been sent up to 
" persuade " them. A battle 
was eventually fought, and the 
mutineers surrendered, their 
leaders being arrested. I don't 
suppose this kind of thing often 
happens. Thus the retreat was 
finished, though many of us 
expected Proskurov and even 
Kieff to fall. 





A GREY oar stood, with 
throbbing engine, outside the 
tiny house of the Cure, then 
serving as the headquarters 
of a Heavy Artillery Group, 
officially known as K 32. Out 
from the door came a laughing 
subaltern, smiling the smile 
which only the possession of 
a leave-ticket gives, and loaded 
with bulky packages. He 
jumped into the car, stowed 
away his parcels, and spoke 
to the driver. "Eight then, 
Williams, the station, and as 
hard as you like. I've only 
ten minutes." 

Just then he saw at the 
window the face of the Ad- 
jutant, pale and wide-eyed, 
as he bent over the mass of 
papers on the table, writing 
orders, answering the tele- 
phone, and sucking an unlit 
cigarette. "Cheerio, old bean," 
shouted the leave-man, "don't 
overwork." The Adjutant 
looked up, disappeared, and 
a moment later bounded from 
the door and leapt at the oar. 
" Here, Maddook, listen to 
this," he shouted. "A con- 
founded message just in from 
Corps H.Q. that a circus is 
arriving in three days to 
assist in raids, and," consult- 
ing a paper in his hand, "'O.C. 
K 32 will arrange suitable 
positions and furnish all neces- 
sary material for effective con- 
cealment.' " 

The Adjutant paused in his 
breathless reading to let the 
words sink in; then he broke 
out again: "And you, you 
lucky Leavite, going off just 
now and leaving me with no 
Orderly Officer, a Colonel who's 
new to the job, a Vet. who 
can't tell a gun from a sack 
of oats, and a Doc. who knows 
as much about artillery as a 
General about the trenches. 
What the devil what in the 

name of Oh, confound 

it, what's to be done?" The 
O.O. laughed. " Well, I don't 
stay," he said, " even if it 
means losing the war. I'm 
sorry, old man, and all that; 
but that little lady I was 
telling you about last night 
no, I mean the other one 
that I've the big photo of 
she's expecting me, and so is 
London. Get somebody from 
one of your batteries till the 
stunt's over. Good luck, old 
man, see you choose a better 
one than last time. Cheerio ! 
Now, Williams, it's hell-for- 
leather if I'm to get that 
train." His merry laughter 
was drowned by the roaring 
of the engine as the car 
swung away, climbed on to 
the pavd centre of the 
road, and headed down the 
poplar - lined route to the 

The Adjutant turned, his 
brows knit with thought, and 


The Brain of the Cruns. 


plunged (it is the only word) 
back to his table in the office. 
The telephone rang. He 
snatched off the receiver and 
spoke rapidly, the cigarette 
still hanging from his lips. 
" Yes, hullo, yes, this is K 32. 
Yes oh, good - morning, sir. 
Yes, your O.O. 3 of to-day's 
date received. Acknowledg- 
ment coming by wire, sir." 
Just then the door from the 
mess opened, and a large 
and rubicund colonel strolled 
leisurely in, smoking his after- 
breakfast cigarette. 

The Adjutant looked up. 
"Good -morning, sir," he jerked 
out as he listened at the 
'phone. Then again, "Hullo, 
yes, still on, sir"; and to the 
Colonel, "Brigade Major speak- 
ing, sir. Hullo, yes, sir, I think 
we've enough material for four 
battery positions. I'll try to 
get more from the Sappers. 
There's an Operation Order 
for you, sir, on the table there. 
Hullo, very good, sir; it must 
be got at once. No, beside 
that cigar - box, sir, to your 
left. What's that, sir? Yes, 
sir, very good. 'Morning, sir." 
He finished his dual conversa- 
tion and hung up the receiver. 
Then, as he seized a message 
form and started scribbling, 
he snatched it off again and 
shouted " Message " into the 
'phone. A moment later an 
orderly entered and saluted. 
The Adjutant finished, tore 
the message off the pad, 
handed it to the orderly, and 
was back in his papers before 
the door had closed. 

"Ah, Lee," said the Colonel, 
" another stunt coming off. 
We'll be pretty hard worked, 

I expect." The ghost of a 
smile flitted grimly across the 
Adjutant's face as he answered, 
" Yes, sir. Just going te 'phone 
Northern Siege, that's the 
newest of the four batteries 
in the Group, to send an 
Orderly Officer. They're the 
only people that can spare 
one." He spoke into the 
'phone again, "O.C., Northern 
Siege," then lit another cigar- 
ette, and showed the Colonel 
exactly where to find the 
matches, ash-tray, cigarettes, 
and messages. As the tele- 
phone tinkled he dashed back 
to his table and picked off 
the receiver. 

A self-satisfied voice came 
over the 'phone. "Hullo, is 
that you, Lee ? Good - morn- 
ing. You were ringing me, 

I think, about some " 

"That O.C. Northern Siege?" 
cut in the Adjutant. " 'Morn- 
ing, sir. Adjutant K 32 
speaking. Will you send an 
officer here to do duty as 
Orderly Officer while Maddock 
is on leave. Knowledge of in- 
telligence work and routine. 
To be here by " he glanced 
at the leather-cased clock over 
the stove "by 1.30 P.M. to- 
day. Very sorry, sir, if it 
inconveniences you. No, sir, 
the other batteries are more 
short-handed than you. Can't 
help that, I'm afraid. 1.30 
P.M. 'Morning, sir." 

The Adjutant turned to the 
O.C., who by this time had 
got his eigar lit and was lean- 
ing back smiling contentedly 
over his wife's letter. "Shall 
I write out the orders, sir, for 
this new stunt?" he asked. 
" Ah, yes, Lee, certainly," an- 


The Brain of the Gum. 


swered the Colonel without 
looking up. " Then oan I have 
that Corps order when you're 
finished? Thank you, sir." 

The Adjutant lifted a bulky 
mass of papers on to his table 
and oommenoed searching in it 
for that grain of sense amongst 
the ohaff of official redundances 
which rumour says is always 
to be found in H.Q, documents. 
He found it, reached for his 
pencil and memo -book, and 
began to write. 

Silence absolute fell on the 
room, broken only by the rustle 
of turning leaves as each page 
was covered by the swift pencil, 
and the scratch of a match as 
a cigarette was lit, smoked 
through, thrown away, and 
another lit. And as the hours 
passed by the pile of close- 
written sheets grew larger and 
the heap of cigarette-ends in 
the tin box bigger. On and 
on without ceasing. On and 
on ... 


Within an hour of the Adju- 
tant's message being received 
at the Northern Siege Battery 
a limousine Daimler, daubed in 
fantastic patterns with splashes 
of paint to assist concealment, 
glided from its hiding-place in 
a ruined barn and bumped 
slowly down the stony track 
on to the main Divisional read. 
Here, with a clever driver and 
despite the traffic, the oar 
changed into top and was soon 
rolling swiftly along towards 
Group Headquarters, carrying 
within it the deputy Orderly 

He was just about medium 
size, this sub., with a face in 
which whimsical and fantastic 

humour blended with determin- 
ation ; his eyes, at one moment 
keen and merry as when bend- 
ing towards another pair of 
eyes over a shaded table in a 
luxurious restaurant in Town, 
then changing to the thought- 
ful, earnest eyes of the student, 
and merging into the soft and 
imaginative gaze of the dreamer 
his eyes, then, were the most 
notable feature of an otherwise 
plain face. But at this moment 
his face was sparkling with the 
pleasure of facing a new ex- 
perience as he lowered the win- 
dows and lay back to let the 
keen wind blow round him. 

Past columns of dirty, sing- 
ing men and speeding, top- 
heavy lorries, through a half- 
ruined village where the few 
remaining inhabitants drove a 
prosperous trade by retailing 
" vang-blong" and chocolate 
to "les Anglais" in tottering 
" estaminets," swiftly past the 
cross-roads where the ground 
was pitted with shell-holes, and 
an ominous notice conveyed 
the needless warning, " Do not 
loiter here," past all that makes 
up life behind the Front sped 
the oar, till it drew up at Group 
H.Q. in a little village, and the 
Orderly Officer alighted. 

The Adjutant rose to meet 
him as he entered the office. 
" From Northern Siege, aren't 
you? Splendid. Feeling fit? 
That's good. Lots of work for 
you here. You oan hang your 
hat and coat behind the door 
for the present. I see your 
kit's coming in. Now I'll 
show you everything. Your 

name, by the way, is " he 


The Orderly Officer, think- 


The Brain of the Guns. 


ing it was time he got a chance 
to speak, started calmly 

"Oh, my name's Lane. I 

was thinking " but that 

was as far as he got. 

The Adjutant out in, " Lane, 
right. Mine's Lee. Now, if 
you're ready, I'll show you 
your work." He led Lane to 
where, on a sloping table, rested 
a large-scale map, covered with 
red dots and stuck with several 
pins, from which blaek thread 
stretched over eelluloid degree 

" This is the Flash Map, used 
to spot enemy batteries firing. 
These pins are the Main O.P.'s, 1 
one on Hill 59, two on Steen- 
voort Hill, and one up north 
on Elsberg. When either of 
them observes an enemy gun- 
flash, they send in its bearing, 
and you stretch the thread over 
the arc to see which of the red 
dots, representing batteries, is 
crossed. If you're not sure, 
wait until you get another bear- 
ing from somewhere else and 
get an intersection, then call 
up the battery which covers 
that zone and order twenty or 
thirty rounds for that target. 
Enter on those tables fixed on 
the wall there. You find out 
the area allotted to each of our 
batteries from that coloured 
map on the easel there. 

"Then there are 'Zone Calls' 
from 'planes," went on the Ad- 
jutant's steady voice. "The 
batteries receive those on their 
own wireless, but you ring up 
the battery whose zone the 
target is in find that from the 
diagram by the window there 
and make sure the message 

has been received, Wretched 
nuisance these Zone Calls: 
flight merchants kick up hell 
if you don't answer quick when 
a 'plane spots a Boohe gun 
firing. N.K., sent before the 
pin-point of the locality, means 
'gun firing'; A.O., * troops 
moving ' ; and Z.Z., the general 
call, means anything, usually 
nothing. 'Plane sends that for 
amusement when he's fed up 
and wants to see some shooting. 
Zone Calls are entered on this 
paper here." 

The Adjutant led Lane 
across the room to a shelf 
covered with cardboard folios. 
"Then you look after indents, 
in this folio here. Know all 
about that sort of thing, I 
s'pose? See that a battery 
doesn't get a thing twice, or 
too much, else we'll get 
slanged by the Corps Sapper. 
Halve what they ask for 
before you send it on to the 
Sapper's Dump. In your 
spare time you look after 
communications and billets, 
also arrange about Courts- 
Martial and Spy Reports. 
From the Intelligence Report 
that comes in from the Corps 
eaoh night here's yesterday's, 
for instance you copy the 
most important things into 
this book here: positions of 
enemy dug-outs, dumps, head- 
quarters, and that sort of 
thing. Then from the Hostile 
Activity Report you mark off 
eaoh day with a cross each 
battery on this list here that's 
been observed active, so you 
can see at a glance which 
are doing the most work. 

1 Observation Posts. 


The Brain of the Guns. 


Keep this chart here of 
known enemy gun positions 
up to date. They're known 
as Alpha Targets, and each 
battery has a numbered list 
of them. Those are all just 
things to do in your off- 
moments from the usual 
routine. Sort of side-shows, 
you know." 

When the Adjutant paused, 
the Orderly Officer, whose 
smile had been broadening 
at every mention of "off- 
moments " and " spare time," 
laughed just a trifle sarcastic- 
ally. "That's all, is it?" he 
said. He checked himself as 
he was about to add various 
flippant remarks about medi- 
cally examining the General, 
and seeing that the Brigade 
Major changed his flannels 
every week. What he did 
say and he could not quite 
keep a note of sarcasm out 
of his voice was, " Not 
much to do really, is 

The Adjutant, like all 
men of intense action and 
little reflection, vaguely sus- 
pected some "leg-pulling," and, 
slightly (he knew not why) 
resenting the tone, replied: 
"Don't know about that. 
Probably you'll have enough 
to do." 

"Really?" smiled Lane. 

And the Adjutant, feeling 
himself getting out of his 
depth, turned to a more 
definite topic. " Come in for 
tea now," he said. "Colonel 
Foljambe, this is our new 
officer Mr Lane. I'll show 
you the routine part of the 
work after tea," 

As the new Orderly Officer 
consumed his meal in the little 
mess - room, whose bare walls 
were adorned, as befits all such 
places, with risqu6 examples 
of tlie art of Kirohner and, 
as befits a gunner mess, with 
many and various maps, he 
felt far from comfortable. He 
was the mark of every eye, 
and each time he looked up 
found at least one pair of eyes 
on him ranging from the 
choleric but kindly Irish eyes 
of the Colonel to the gimlet 
grey of the Adjutant and the 
watery regard of the sallow 
Orderly. The telephone rang 
sharply in the adjoining office. 

"That's your 'phone, Lane," 
said the Adjutant. " Come 
back and finish your tea when 
you're through." 

As he left the room, the 
Mess, as might be expected, 
fell to discussing him. Each 
of the four members gave 
their opinion shortly and to 
the point. 

"Pleasant boy," said the 
Colonel. "Doesn't seem to 
like work," said the Adjutant. 
" Too particular about things ; 
keeps his hands as neat as 
a girl's," drawled the burly 
Canadian vet. " Sharp tongue, 
too," murmured the Irish doc. 

"What did you say his 
name was, Lee? I didn't 
quite catch it," said the 
Colonel, after a moment of 

"Lane, sir," answered the 

"Lane, is it? Seem to 
know his face. Lane ah, 
I have it. He was under 


The Brain of the Guns. 


me at Winchester. A fine 
boy, too. I'll tell you a story 
about him. 

"We had 60 -pounders in 
those days clumsy monsters, 
with eight big 'hairies' each 
team to pull them. One day 
I came on Lane's horse in the 
lines, and found it very badly 
kicked on the off -fore. He 
wouldn't give me any explana- 
tion, except that one of the 
team - horses had kicked it 
when he was riding past, and 
of course I rated the lad a 
bit for his carelessness. It 
wasn't till a long time after 
that I heard the real truth 
of the matter from another 
sub. in his battery. One day, 
on manoeuvre, the teams were 
halted in a steep field with a 
deep ditch at the bottom. 
Most of the drivers had dis- 
mounted, but in one team 
the wheel -driver stayed up. 
Something started the horses. 
They hadn't, I suppose, any 
one holding their heads, so 
off they bolted down the 
slope. The gun, of course, 
rolling so close on their heels, 
made them even more terri- 
fied. The driver shouted. Lane, 
who was standing some dis- 
tance away beside his horse, 
saw what would happen if 
the team plunged into the 
ditch. He vaulted into his 
saddle no easy feat and 
thundered hell-for-leather after 
the runaways. 

"He drew level with the 
leaders, risking a fatal kick 
from their great hoofs. Then, 
just as his horse stumbled 
kicked, of course, as he had 
asked for he gathered the 

hanging reins and swung him- 
self into the leader's saddle. 
A most inconceivable thing, 
perfectly marvellous. 

" But he was only at the be- 
ginning even then. The ditch 
was only fifty yards away, and 
he had to stop or turn eight 
great beasts and five tons of 
metal in that distance. But 
he did it Lord knows how. 
He pulled on the leaders' off 
rein and lashed the neck of 
the off-leader until he began 
to edge them round, and just 
managed, at the very edge 
of the ditch, to turn them 
parallel, nearly tipping the gun 
into the ditch with the swirl 
of his turn. Then he dropped 
the whip and just lay back on 
the reins until the team slowed 
down and finally stopped. 

" I saw the place some 
months afterwards. The wheel 
marks were two feet from the 
edge of the ditch. And never 
a word he said about it when 
I slanged him for the kick his 
horse had got." 

There was silence when the 
Colonel finished. Each of them 
had worked among horses. 
Each realised what a dare- 
devil act of reckless pluck 
and skilful horsemanship had 
been so simply narrated. And, 
above all, each appreciated the 
reticence which the hero of the 
occasion had afterwards shown. 
In that silence Lane entered 
into the class of " good chaps," 
and his treatment at headquar- 
ters was settled for all time 
in the minds of the listeners. 

"Not so bad," muttered the 
Adjutant to himself (it was a 


The Brain of the Guns. 


habit he had) late that night. 
"Coming to ask me if there 
was anything he oould help 

with before turning in. Bit 
funny till you know him, but 
well, not so bad." 


The Orderly Officer snored 
peacefully. Opposite him in 
the bare room the Doo. did 
likewise, and in the corner by 
the broken window the Vet. 
trumpeted. Suddenly the door 
rattled, and, after some noisy 
twisting of the crazy handle, 
opened to admit two orderlies, 
one bearing a tray with three 
cups of tea, the other carrying 
a large can of hot water. 

"Seven o'clock, gentlemen," 
announced the first one. Then, 
louder, " Seven o'clock, gentle- 
men." Followed a respectful 
shake of each recumbent figure, 
while the other orderly filled 
three canvas basins and three 
enamel mugs. As he was pre- 
paring to depart, the sleepers 

"Braggs, you lazy devil," 
roared the Vet,, never in his 
best temper at 7 A.M., "have 
you lit that stove? How 
many times have I told you 
to light it and put the shaving 
water on top to keep warm? 
Got no sense at all in your 
durn lazy carcase ? Get it lit" 
This stove, a oast-iron inven- 
tion which burned oil, reeked 
like Avernus and gave out the 
modicum of heat, was a pet of 
the Vet.'s. To omit to light it, 
as the orderly usually did, was 
to arouse righteous and voluble 
wrath in the breast of a man 
whose stubborn beard yielded 
only to the hottest of water. 

His roars finally roused Lane, 

who with a glance at his watch 
leapt from the bed and began 
hurriedly dressing. "Just my 
luck," he said, plying a shaving 
brush diligently, " and I had 
a bet on with Lee that I'd be 
down before him." 

" And is that any reason for 
your sprinklin' soap over me 
tunic?" Even through the 
half -drunken drawl peculiar to 
men only partially awake, the 
accent of the Emerald Isle 
spoke plainly. 

"Sorry, Kavanagh. Forgot 
you didn't like soap. They 
don't in Ireland, do they ? At 
least not Orangemen." 

This was too much for Hiber- 
nian blood. "Look here, my 
lad, less of that there. I'm 
not an Orangeman, and I'm 
not for ye sayin' the same. 
I'll be for gettin' up te ye if 
ya'll say it." 

"Never mind, old man," 
Lane tried to speak sooth- 
ingly through his lather. "I 
never can get these religions 
of yours settled." Then after 
a period of silent dressing, 
he spoke, with his hand 
on the door-knob. "Suppose 
I'll see you two in about an 

" Get out," roared the chorus 
of two. 

" Just what I'm doing." 
They heard th door close and 
turned over again for " another 
five minutes." It is one of the 
advantages of being a Doo. or 


The Brain of the Guns. 


a Vet. that early rising is not 
included in the day's work. 

As the Orderly Officer en- 
tered the office, the Adjutant 
lifted a tired head and spoke, 
weary but vigorous. "Morn- 
ing, Lane. I did beat you. Two 
hours down. Listen to this." 

" More batteries coming in ? 
I suppose you know that the 
Canadian 8 -inch arrived last 
night. I sat up for them after 
the Colonel sent you to bed. 
About 3 ao emma they arrived, 
and I got everything fixed up. 
Going to be some dirty work 

"Rather. Glad you met 
them. Corps says Westshire 
Siege are coming to-night. 
No billets for them. No posi- 
tion. You're to find both." 

" Thanks, anything else ? 
Wait a bit. What about this 
place ? " Lane led the Adjutant 
to the large-scale map on the 
easel. "There, see, was a 60- 
pounder position before the line 
came back. It's pretty far up, 
but good cover. I had a look 
at it yesterday when I was 
joy-riding after tea." 

"Did you? Good man. 
That'll do them. I remember 
the place. Beside 'Glasgow 

"That's the place. Shall I 
note it ? " 

"Yes. Where for billets?" 

" Um. Have to sleep under 
the trails, I think. It's not 
very cold weather." 

"Oh, be serious, curse it. 
You'd be funny in your grave, 
Lane. There's no Town Major 
to give out billets in Steen- 
voort. That Highland Divi- 
sion's taken most of them. Go 

dewn at 8.30 and find some- 
thing. Take what you can, be 
back by 11, and we'll inform 
G.O.C. Division that they're 
ours before his Brigade comes 
out of the line to-night and 
wants them." He turned to 
the 'phone, picked off the re- 
ceiver, and snapped, "Car 
wanted 8.30. Faeing North." 
"By the way, Lee," the 
O.O. looked up from a road 
map as he spoke, " it'll be 
some fun crossing the ridge 
above 'Fusilier Farm.' Not a 
stick of cover, and they d a 
morning 'hate' there now- 
adays. I'd better camouflage 
the oar and disguise myself as 
a soldier. You know what 
Kipling says 

' Old soldiers never die, 
They only fade away-ee.' " 

"Shut up, you ass. I'm 
busy. You ought to be too." 

"Sorry." Lane bent over 
his work again, smiling to 
himself. " Poor old Adjie," he 
thought, "he's getting too 
much work to do, and it's bad 
for his nerves. Wish he'd let 
me do more, but he's too 
frightened of the Brigade 
Major old 'red-tab.'" 

This last was true. The 
Brigade Major was a "red- 
tab," or a G.S.O. as he is 
officially called. Corps Heavy 
Artillery H,Q. are real " Staff," 
the red- tab, soft job kind, but 
Group H.Q., where all the 
slaving work is done, labour 
on unthanked, with no red- 
tabs or extra pay, but merely 
a more or less comfortable 
billet as recompense. 

Sounds of dishes brought 
the O.O. to his feet. With a 


The Brain of the Guns. 


muttered prayer of thanks as 
he saw he'd have time to eat 
something before going out, he 
vanished into the mess. 

As he was finishing, the 
Colonel, who never merely " en- 
tered," strolled in. "Good 
morning, Lane. You seem in 
a hurry." 

"Yes, sir. Going down to 
Steenvoort for billets at 8.30," 
replied Lane, between gulps. 

"But you can't get any 
there. There's no Town Major. 
You'll have to apply to G.O.C. 

" And get some old cowshed," 
thought Lane. Aloud he said, 
" I think not, sir. I'll manage 
to wangle something." 

" Well, it's not quite correct, 
but " 

" Lee said I might, sir." 

The name was a charm. 
Colonel Foljambe sighed relief. 
"Ah, then that's all right. 
There's the oar now, I think." 

Lane hurried out and took 
his place beside the driver. 
The oar slipped down the road, 
through the little village with 
its churchyard filled with white 
crosses, out into the open. 

A turn to the east, that is 
towards the Boohe, through 
another half-ruined village and 
up the winding hill. Ominous 
signs of recent shelling were all 
around, in the smouldering re- 
mains of huts and the jagged 
fingers of a white tree-stump. 
A swerve past a shell-hole 
awoke Lane from a reverie of 
brown eyes and wind-blown 

"Williams," he said, "they'll 
see us crossing the ridge for 
about 200 yards. You've got 
to do it quick." 

"Very good, sir," replied the 
driver, pushing down the ac- 
celerator. The car swung into 
view on the crest. Then above 
the roar of the engine rose the 
whistle of a shell. Louder 
louder then crash behind the 
flying car. Both men ducked 
as a shower of dirt fell about 
them, and splinters droned in 
the air. Then out of sight 
again below the skyline, and 
two sighs of relief from the 
occupants of the car. At the 
foot of the slope the car ran 
between two rows of black huts 
which vaguely reminded Lane 
of fishermen's huts seen on 
East Coast holidays. He 
stopped to ask the way of a 
tall Highlander who was scrap- 
ing mud from what was once a 

"Be ye for gaein' doon intae 
Stanewort, sir? I'm feared 
ye'll no' manage. The Boohe 
is shellin' ahint the wee kirk 
somethin' awfu'." 

" Oh, I'll cut over the fields 
then. That's the way to Bri- 
gade H.Q.?" 

"Aye, sir. Gin' ye follow 
the wee burn ye'll nae gang far 

"Eight, thanks. Williams, 
turn the oar and wait for 

Lane followed the " Jock's " 
directions and came to a little 
group of ramshackle buildings, 
with walls of wood and flat- 
tened tin from biscuit-boxes, 
and a roof of rusty corrugated 
iron. At the door of one 
labelled "O.C. Brigade" he 
knocked and stepped within. 
Here the severity of outside 
appearance was softened by 
various devices for comfort. 


The Brain of the Guns. 


Grey blankets furnished wall- 
paper, on whioh were pinned 
numerous pictures from the 
illustrated weeklies. Kirohner 
prints of rather "demi-mon- 
daine" ladies smiled at the 
youthful innocence of Harrison 
Fisher's girls. Strips of blan- 
ket covered the floor and the 
table, at whioh sat a dapper 
Colonel, smoking a calabash 
pipe and warming his free 
hand at the red-hot stove, 

"Good-morning, sir," said 
Lane, saluting. 

"'Morning, my boy; any- 
thing I can do for you?" 

"Well, sir, I'm looking for 
billets for a battery coming 
into position near here. I'm 
from K32 Heavy Group." 

"Ah, yes. You know, I 
suppose, that there's no Town 
Major in the village. You'll 
have to apply to G.O.C. Divi- 
sion for anything you want." 

"Oh, of course, sir. Cer- 
tainly. But if you could tell 
me of anywhere suitable it 
would save time when we 
apply, "adding under his breath, 
" when we apply." 

"Let me see, now. Yes. 
There's rather a nice place 
called the Bed Chateau. It's 
in the trees about two hundred 
yards south of the church. 
There are some Sappers in it 
at present, but they're going 
off this evening. That might 
do you. Are you in a hurry ? 
Well, I won't keep you. Of 
course, you'll apply to G.O.C. 
We must do things the right 

"Of course we must, sir. 
We'd never be where we are if 
we didn't. Good - morning, 
sir." And Lane departed, 

leaving the Colonel to wonder 
whether there was just a hint 
f sarcasm in his words. 

"South of the church," 
thought Lane to himself. 
"That's probably the 'wee kirk' 
they were 'shellin' somethin' 
awfuV By Jove, that was a 
ripping picture above the stove. 
Bather like the flapper I know 
in Town. And the photo on 
the table. Wonder who she 
was? His wife may be. Looked 
a bit too good for that. He's 
a funny beggar. 'Apply to 
G.O.C.' Bather, I should just 
think we will, and get an 
answer in a oouple of months 
that ' this application must be 
made in triplicate. Please 
oomplete and forward imme- 
diately.' Truly ours is a won- 
derful army. Like that bit of 
Kipling's about 

'The General 'ad "produced a great 

The General "'ad the country cleared" 

almost ; 

The General '"ad no reason to expect," 
And the Boers 'ad us bloomin' well on 
toast 1"' 

And so, musing, h came to 
the Bed Chateau, whioh was 
rather a fanciful name for a 
wooden pavilion, blackened and 
rotting, once the summer resi- 
dence of some Belgian grandee. 
An officer was superintending 
a squad of sappers laboriously 
making and stacking "knife- 
rests," the name given, from 
their shape, to arrangements 
of beams and barbed wire, to 
be taken that night to the 
front line to fill up a gap in 
the wire. The Sapper Sub., 
seeing him approach, came 
over to him. 

"Well, old man, how goes 


The Brain of the Guns. 


it ? Have a cigarette ? 'Fraid 
you don't remember me. Think 
of a box at the Gaiety and 
supper at the Trianon, off Soho 
Square, with about five of the 
girls. Remember now ? Can't 
say I remember much after 
supper, except waking next 
morning alone in a strange 
hotel, with a devil of a head. 
You were with old ' Dolly* 
Gray of the Gordons." 

" Yes," Lane smiled reminis- 
cently. "I remember now. 
We had to dump you in some 
hotel or other. We lest the 
man you were with, and hadn't 
the vaguest noticn where you 
were staying. You wouldn't 
let ua go until you had kissed 
us * Good-night,' and I nearly 
missed the * milk -train' baek 
to Aldershot. Some night." 

"Bather. Well, what do 
you want now ? I can't intro- 
duce you to any girls, if that's 
what you're after." 

" No, it's not girls, it's billets. 
You're going out f here to- 
night, and I want this place 
for a battery coming in. The 
old boy at Brigade H.Q. 
wanted me to apply to the 
General. You know what 
that means." 

"Should think I do. You 
just write out a notice that it's 
reserved for those gunners of 
yours, and I'll stick it on the 
door before we go. Come and 
have a look at the place. This 
way, and don't try that middle 
step. I've been on my head 
over it twice." 

He led Lane up a few 
wooden steps, carefully avoid- 
ing the middle one, which was 
even more rotted than the 
others, on to the verandah 

round the house, and through 
a doorway into the interior. 
The hall, once neatly tiled, was 
now a litter of broken tiles 
and rubble : sandbags but- 
tressed the walls, and loop- 
holed windows showed that it 
was intended as a fort by the 
Germans before our cavalry 
swept them past it three years 
ago. Seme of the rooms were 
in good preservation, the wide 
glass windows neatly boarded 
up, and rows of bedding and 
equipment lining the walls. 
In the kitchen a fire burned 
cheerfully in the rusty, broken 
stove, and at a wooden table 
sat a group of telephonists. 

"This is rather a good 
thing, to," said the Sapper, 
leading Lane down a flight of 
stone stairs, "their wine-cellar 
here. Must have held quite 
a lot. I wish they'd left 
some of it; but the people 
here before us only found one 
dusty bottle covered up with 
rubbish. You can retire grace- 
fully in here if they start shell- 
ing you." 

"Splendid idea. It's quite 
a ready-made dug-out. Some 
one's kindly strengthened it 
with these pit-props. Wasn't 
you, was it ? No, they look 
as if they'd been up some 

As the two emerged into 
the garden again a signaller 
hurried up with a message. 
The Sapper read it and 
whistled ruefully. " Good 
Lord, this is from an O.C. 
Company coming out of the 
line to-night. Wants this 
billet. Well, it's this way. 
My corporal has just wired 
the accommodation. When 


The Brain of the Guns. 


O.C. gets it, he'll apply to 
the General, who will pass 
it on to the Corps Artillery, 
I suppose, if they want billets 
in this region." 

" Yes, he'll consult them, at 
any rate." 

" Right; it'll take about 
half an hour for those wires 
to get passed through. You'll 
have to get back to your H.Q., 
and have that wire through 
inside thirty minutes. How 
long will it take you to get 
baok ? You've got a oar ? " 

" Yes, across on the ether 
road. Take about twenty 
minutes by the * Fusilier 
Farm' way. The car's about 
five minutes' walk away." 

" * Fusilier Farm ' way ? 
That's no good. They're giv- 
ing all that bit hell. I was 
just having a look when you 
came in. It's getting worse 
every minute. Look there." 
He pointed to where on the 
skyline stood a battered ruin, 
past which ran the road. All 
about it were white puffs of 
shrapnel, woolly black balls of 
Time H.E., and heavy spread- 
ing clouds from "Crumps." 

"Doesn't look awfully in- 
viting," said Lane, wishing 
he oould find any excuse at 
all for going the longer and 
safer way round. "Mustn't 
let this beggar think I've got 
* wind-up,' " he thought, "even 
if I have. Better take the oar 
myself and let Williams walk, 
or I'll drive it myself. The 
beggar would probably run 
the thing into a ditch if one 
came near. Might do ib my- 
self, of course, but I'd feel 
safer than with him driving." 
He added to the Sapper: 

" Have to be getting along 
now, old man. Perhaps it 
will have cooled off a bit 
before we cross the ridge. 
Come up to our place in 
Neuoapelle, you know any 
time you can. Cheer-oh." 

"Chin, chin, old thing. I 
hope you pull this off all right. 
I'll be up some night to talk 
ever old times." 

Lane hurried over the fields 
to where the car stood. The 
driver, seeing him coming, 
started up the engine and sat 
down in the wheel seat. 

"No, Williams," said Lane, 
as he came up. " I'm driving. 
I know it's against orders, but 
don't you worry. We're 
going baok by that road over 
there. See where the ' woolly- 
bear s' are bursting. That's 
the place. Are you right ? 
Well, sit tight, and keep 
your head down, if you want 
it safe." 

Lane let in the clutch with 
a jerk, changed gear with a 
screech that almost brought 
tears to the driver's eyes, and 
swung the oar along the road. 
Bumping, swaying, rolling, it 
mounted the hill. Then, as 
it reached the "danger zone" 
of the crest, Lane slipped to 
the floor, jammed the acceler- 
ator down, and clung to the 
j erking wheel . ' c Crash ' ' j us t 
above them. "Crash whirr-r" 
the splintered glass out their 
faces, Still they kept on. In 
and out of a shell-hole that 
almost jerked the wheel from 
Lane's hand, through the fly- 
ing steel and the ear-splitting 
detonations, over the crest 

Lane resumed his seat. " Bit 


The Brain of the Guns. 


hot, Williams?" He tried to 
keep the tell-tale quiver out 
of his voice. "You'll need a 
new wind-screen, I'm afraid." 
But the driver didn't answer. 
Even when the oar reached 
H.Q., his knees still shook so 
much that he could hardly 

"I've got 'em, Lee. The 
1 Bed Chateau.' Had the devil 

of a time, but I managed. 
You'll wire G.O.C. that we've 
taken the place ? " 

" Which way did you come 
back ? " 

" * Fusilier Farm. 1 " 

The Adjutant swore softly. 
When he saw the car, and 
heard the story from the 
driver, he swore again, to 
express his admiration. And 
not so softly, 

III. S.O.S. 

"Yes, my lad," said the Vet., 
looking over at a picture on 
the wall of the mess, "that's 
the one the Cure's wife didn't 

"Is it?" said the Orderly 
Officer as he helped himself 
to more Belgian beer out of 
the enamelled jug. "I don't 
admire her taste. That's rather 
a fine girl : her pose, to say 
nothing of what she wears, is 
a bit unconventional, but the 
shading of the whole thing is 

The Adjutant joined in the 
discussion over the lunch table. 
It was only at meal-times that 
he forsook his rapid talk and 
serious manner. The picture 
in question, a rather fine brown 
print of a lady, clad more or 
less in a leopard skin, clasping 
her hands over her breast in 
ecstatic joy, was hung so that 
she appeared to be lying back, 
looking up into some one's face 

" The Cure's wife doesn't lik 
that, sir." The Adjutant speke 
to the Colonel. " Sh came in 
one night after you'd all gone 
to bed and talked to me about 

'wicked pictures from Paris.' 
But wait a minute, I'll put it 

He rose, unpinned the pic- 
ture, and refixed it so as to 
bring the lady to an upright 

"That's a lot better now. 
Don't you think so, sir?" 

" Yes, Lee, it does look more 

"Lee, you're a vandal, a 
Goth, in fact a perfect Hun. 
Don't yeu see you've destroyed 
all the art the poor thing ever 
had by making her stand in 
that uncomfortable and un- 
natural poiition. Fancy the 
Adjutant of K 32 Heavy Artil- 
lery Group" Lane rolled the 
words solemnly "allowing 
himself to be influenced by the 
chatter of an old woman." 

" But this is her house," ob- 
jected Lee. " Surely she has 
a right to keep it respectable. 
After all, she is the wife of the 

"I don't care, Lee. I don't 
care. You've allowed yourself 
to be prejudiced against a work 
of art, Such a big man as you 
are, too." 


The Brain of the China. 


"Lane, don't talk so durn 
much. Pass along those pota- 
toes sliok. I've work to do 
this afternoon." The Vet. 
spoke roughly. 

"Work to do, Vet.?" Lane 
said banteringly. "No won- 
der you want lots f * mealies.' 
One does have to fill up a bit 
before unaooustomed toil. But 
as I was saying, Art is an 
excuse for everything, even for 
allowing a lady like that to 
watoh us eat. I'll just tell 
you a little story " 

" No, you won't." Lee glanced 
at his watoh and resumed his 
" business " voice. " You'll come 
along into the office and get 
on with the work. You'll ex- 
cuse us, sir. Come on, Lane." 

The two rose and passed 
through the high, moulded, 
white doors into the little 
front room where was " the 
office," the brain of the guns 

" Once more into the breach, 
dear friends," murmured the 
Orderly Officer. 

"What's that you say?" 
snapped Lee. 

"Nothing," said Lane, "ex- 
cept that I have a lot to do." 

"Bight, you have. Here's a 
list of the new S.O.S. targets 
in from the Corps. They're 
to reach our batteries before 
three. I've made a copy for 
ourselves. There it is. Just 
check as I read," and the Ad- 
jutant began swiftly rattling 
off strings of names and fig- 
ures, such as "Two gums 
on Trench Junction K 16 o 
2428, one on * too emma ' em- 
placement K 16 b 5630, one 
on Company H.Q. K 15 d 
8620," and on, "S.O.S. North- 

ern, Westshire Siege Battery 
has one gun n Trench Junc- 
tion L 19 b 2585, three guns 
on cross-roads L 14 c 7545, 
Northern Siege two guns on 
' too emma ' emplacements L 
19 d 2530 to 2565, two guns 
n hostile battery, or section, 
E 5 c 9040 "... and more and 
more he read until all the dif- 
ferent S.O.S. targets allotted 
to each gun of every battery 
in the group, for the various 
S.O.S. Signals, were examined 
and checked. Then a call 
through the 'phone for a de- 
spatch-rider, the roar of a 
motor -bicycle dying away in 
the distance, and the papers 
were on their way to the 
batteries who must work out 
" angles from aiming point," 
elevation, and concentration or 
distribution for each target, 
as well as have pickets out 
to hold the lamps for night 
firing, before darkness fell. 

The office at Group H.Q. 
settled down again to silence. 
Work, much work, was the 
order of the day. New bat- 
teries had come into the group 
to assist in a series of raids, 
and each had to be tended 
and watched over, urged on or 
commended, as their perform- 
ance warranted. For even the 
smallest raid, contrary to the 
belief of " the man in the 
street," requires a vast amount 
of careful thought and detailed 
preparation. Counter -battery 
work (known to batteries and 
Staffs as C.B.W.) has to be 
earried out energetically, dumps 
and dug-outs destroyed, and 
tangles of wire out, if any- 
thing in the nature of a large 
raid is to take place. And all 


The Brain of the Guns. 


instructions oome down to the 
batteries through the Group, 
whose thankless task is to act 
as "go-between" for Corps 
H.Q. and the actual guns. All 
of which explains the frown 
on the Adjutant's brow as he 
wrote hard in his memo-book, 
and the silent earnestness of 
the Orderly Officer, deep in 
reports, maps, and statistics. 
And along with all the extra 
work must go on the daily 
routine of organised trench 
warfare on "quiet days." 

Scene, a front-line trench. 
Time, about midnight. Tem- 
perature, somewhat below 
zero. A light snowstorm fall- 
ing. Noises heard "off." 

"The 'minnies' again, sir. 
About fifty yards off. They 
out our wire here last night. 
We've a party out at it now, 
sir." The orderly sergeant 
diagnosed the noise for his 
officer, doing rounds. 

"Right, sergeant. Seem to 
be thinking of a raid here. 
Warn all Lewis and look-out 
men for special vigilance." 

"Very good, sir." 

The crashes continued. Post 
after post was destroyed by 
the enormous trench mortar 
bombs. The parapet was 
blown in, wire destroyed, and 
men buried in the upheavals. 
Stretcher - bearers moved sil- 
ently over the slippery trench- 
boards, working parties la- 
boured to repair the breaches. 
Grim and tense, the officer 
stood by a sentry who peered 
into the driving snow, heed- 
less of the earth - shaking 
detonations around. 

"If they drop a barrage, 

we're for it, sergeant a raid. 
S.O.S. rockets in rder?" 

"Yessir. Tested this morn- 
ing, sir." 

Then above the whirr and 
crash of the "minnies" rose 
the whistle of "whizz-bangs," 
the shells falling on the front 
line, the support line, in front, 
behind, everywhere. 

"Hell!" snapped the officer, 
and slithering, stumbling, fall- 
ing, he rushed along to the 
rocket apparatus. Good still 
intact. He touched the trig- 
ger. Up into the misty dark- 
ness soared a rocket, and burst 
into the most urgent of all 
calls, two red lights and a 
green one "S.O.S." 

It was seen at once. An 
orderly at the Company H.Q. 
dug - out shouted " S.O.S,," 
and back went the call along 
the wire to Battalion H.Q., 
then to Division, then 

A dozen " look-out " men at 
a dozen field batteries shouted 
the urgent call for help. Down 
in the front line the officer 
timed the arrival of the first 
shell in answer to his call. 
Thirty seconds is the limit. 
" Five ten fifteen when 
are they coming ? twenty 
A long whistle from 
behind, over his head, and 
crash crash four shells burst 
over the German trench. 
" Twenty - four. Oh, g@od 
boys! That's the stuff!" 

The Brigade Major at Corps 
H.Q. turned to his map as he 
replaced the receiver. "H 6 
o and d," he muttered. " H 6, 
that's second scheme. North- 
ern." He turned to the 'phone 


The Brain of the Guns. 


again. "K 32 Group!" he 
called. "Urgent. Hello, hello, 
K32! S.O.S. Northern. Check 
back. Eight. Carry on." 

Lane, his work finished, was 
sitting up with his feet on the 
little stove, dreaming, and try- 
ing to keep awake withal, 
when the B.M.'s call galvan- 
ised him into action. He 
jerked off the receiver and 
shouted, "Hello! Give me 
an officer of Northern Siege, 
Westshire Siege, 3rd Canadian 
Heavy, 20th Canadian Siege, 
llth Lowland Siege, and 98th 
Reserve Heavy. In any order. 
Urgent." Still keeping the 
receiver to his ear, he turned 
to the other 'phone. "Ad- 
jutant's bedroom. Hello ! that 
you, Lee? S.O.S. Northern 
just through. I'm sending it 
on to our batteries." 

A voice in the other re- 
ceiver" Through to Westshire 
Siege, sir." 

"Hullo!" called Lane. 
"Westshire Siege? Officer 
speaking ? S.O.S. Northern. 
Check. Correct. Report when 
fired first round." And to 
each battery in the group 
passed the message, while out 
into the cold and snow 
tumbled the officer on duty, 
and the gun crews, hauling 
the tarpaulins off the guns, 
lighting the picket lamps, 
loading, then "Fire!" and 
away into the mist sped the 
first helping shell from the 
" heavies." 

The door of the office crashed 
open, and Lee bounded in. 
"Right, Lane; I'll take over. 
Any reported yet?" 
"Not yet." 

Yes hullo! Very good." 
He turned to Lane from the 
'phone. " Westshire firing. 
Take down time. Now, off 
to bed you. This is your 
third night on. Get off; I'll 
finish this." 

And so reluctantly Lane 
turned to the door and passed 
upstairs to bed, still anxious 
to hear the outcome of the 
event, but not daring to dis- 
obey that voice of flint. 

Over breakfast in the morn- 
ing the events of the previous 
night were discussed, or rather 
explained shortly and allowed 
to pass. 

"There was an S.O.S. or 
something, last night, wasn't 
there, Lee ? I was wakened 
by some awful din. I sup- 
pose it was all right. I didn't 
bother to come downstairs, as 
I imagined I heard you go 
down. Can I trouble you for 
the marmalade, Vet. ? Thank 
you. Was it a Boche raid?" 
The affable colonel always 
took things easy. 

" Yes, sir. Somewhere 
North. Don't know exact 
locality," replied the Adjutant. 

"Calgary Trench and Pine 
Farm," put in Lane, between 
mouthfuls of toast. 

"Ah, yes. I suppose we 
repulsed it without much 

"We did, sir. The rockets 
went up early on, and our 
barrage was laid on just as 
they left their trenches. They 
got * windy,' and couldn't find 
their way back." 

" I was speaking to old 
'Snorty's' I mean to the 
B.M.'s Orderly Officer, this 


The Brain of the Guns. 


morning, sir," went on Lane. 
"We had them out in the 
open, and they couldn't find 
the gap in their wire to get 
back, what with the snow- 
storm and * wind-up.' Gave 
them hell, he said. They were 
running about trying to find 
their way home with our bar- 
rage playing on them. We lost 
some, too, at the beginning." 

The Colonel finished his 
meal, reached for his letters, 
and lit a cigarette. "Well, 
well. Poor chaps, they must 
have got it badly. Terrible 
business, this. Terrible busi- 
ness. Ah, I see my wife says 
she has had a day with the 
beagles in old Donegal. Could do 
with that ourselves. Eh, Lee?" 

" Bather, sir. Must be better 
weather than here." 

" Lee," Lane's voice was 
low and excited as he looked 
up from the paper, "here's a 
summons against Estelle Doree 
of the Gaiety. Driving with an 
officer without a petrol licence. 
That's the girl Maddock has 
umpteen photos of upstairs. 
I expect it was him." 

" You bet your life on it," 
drawled the Vet. 

And so the talk passed away 
from the doings of the night. 
Only "a raid repulsed," only 
half a hundred grey forms 
stretched out stiff in the 
snow, only a score of empty 
hearts in England. Just 
an incident, forgotten in a 
week except in those be- 
reaved homes, just another 
example of what " Ubique " 

(To be concluded.) 





THE Gold Coast being situ- 
ated in tropical West Africa, it 
is inevitable, I suppose, that 
the first comment, verbal or 
mental, that a mention of its 
name will impel the average 
reader to make, will take the 
form of some banality on the 
subject of its "deadly climate." 
Any adequate discussion of this 
question would fill a volume 
of the size and majesty of 
' Maga's ' recent centenary 
number, and nothing of the 
sort can, of course, be at- 
tempted here. It is necessary, 
however, to get rid of this 
West African bromide, as a 
preliminary to the examination 
of matters which are at once 
more interesting, more import- 
ant, and less notorious. 

Writing, then, not as the 
scribes, but as one having au- 
thority, seeing that I have 
served in the tropics more or 
less continuously since Sep- 
tember 1883, and have ac- 
quired a personal knowledge 
of conditions in Malaya, Java, 
Borneo, Cochin China, Kam- 
bodia, Ceylon, Trinidad, Brit- 
ish Guiana, Barbados, and 
West Africa, I have no hesita- 
tion in describing the "deadly 
climate" theory as a myth. 
The fact is that the climatic 
conditions of the Gold Coast 
very closely resemble those 
which prevail in the southern 
islands of the West Indies, and 
are considerably less hot and 
less humid than those which 

are ordinarily met with in 
tropical Asia. The monumen- 
tal reputation for unhealthi- 
ness which men have reared 
up for West Africa, and which, 
even now, is very slowly crum- 
bling into ruins, has for its 
foundation the ignorance which 
prevailed till quite recently 
concerning the causation of 
certain tropical diseases by 
mosquito-bites, the deplorably 
inappropriate methods of liv- 
ing which in the past were 
adopted by Europeans resident 
on the Coast, and last, but not 
least, by the failure or refusal 
to recognise the fact that the 
common, ordinary " Yellow 
Jack " of the West Indies and 
South America is present here 
in an endemic form, Since 
the beginning of the twentieth 
century the ignorance above 
referred to has been dispelled, 
and medical science almost 
yearly places within the reach 
of white men in the tropics 
new and more efficient means 
of combating insect - borne 
disease. Simultaneously, Euro- 
peans in West Africa have 
begun to acquire the art, so 
highly developed by their fel- 
lows in other parts of the 
tropics, of making themselves 
comfortable, of housing them- 
selves decently, of providing 
rational means of recreation 
and exercise, and of assimi- 
lating their environment as 
nearly as possible to that of a 
small and rather dull country 


The Gold Coast. 


town at home. On the other 
hand, endemio yellow fever, 
it must be owned, is about 
as unpleasant a bedfellow as 
even adversity could select ; 
but so, Heaven knows, is 
Asiatic cholera, which is more 
or less endemio in so many 
parts of the East. Yellow 
fever, too, which is spread by 
the bite of a mosquito, like the 
cholera germ that lurks in 
unboiled water, can be avoided, 
given some vigilance and a 
modicum of luck ; and in any 
event, a disease that can be 
fought with and gradually 
stamped out by means of pre- 
ventive measures is a thing 
with which humanity can 
compete, whereas a " deadly 
climate " is a calamity that 
mankind can only grin and 

My tribute having been thus 
duly paid to the West African 
Climatic Bogie a fetish which 
still numbers many devoted, 
and even fanatical, worshippers 
in this land of fetishism, we 
are free to pass on to other 
subjects, concerning which, it 
is probable, the stay-at-home 
Englishman (if such an one 
still exist in these days of 
Expeditionary Forces) com- 
monly possesses less dangerous 

The Gold Coast and its 
Dependencies Ashanti and 
the Northern Territories is a 
piece of territory roughly 
oblong in shape, lying along 
the coast of the Gulf of Guinea 
for a distance of something 
over 230 miles, and extending 
about twice as far inland. It 
covers an area of approxi- 
mately 80,000 square miles, of 

which about two -fifths, or 
rather more, is under forest, 
the remainder being compara- 
tively open " orchard " or 
grass country. The native 
population numbers in all 
about a million and a half, of 
whom three-quarters inhabit 
the Colony proper and Ashanti, 
the remaining fourth being 
distributed throughout the 
scattered and straggling vil- 
lages which are spattered up 
and down the more or less 
open country of the Northern 
Territories. The people of the 
Colony and Ashanti the 
dwellers in the forest area and 
its fringes are men of negro 
stock, among whom the dom- 
inant race is the Akan or Twi- 
speaking folk. To this breed 
the pakka Ashanti, the Fantis, 
and the Akan tribes of the 
Colony alike belong. In the 
south-eastern part of the 
Colony, from Accra to the 
borders of the erstwhile Ger- 
man colony of Togoland, an- 
other race the Ewe-speaking 
people is met with. Neither 
the Twi-speakers nor the Ewe- 
speakers are aborigines in the 
true sense of that term, the 
former having trekked 'south- 
ward from the interior into 
the forest belt, the latter hav- 
ing come originally from the 
valley of the Niger. The 
natives of the Northern Terri- 
tories, who until quite recently 
were the helpless victims of 
persistent Arab slave-raids, are 
ethnologioally different from 
the negroes farther south ; but 
though many of them show 
distinct traces of the inter- 
mixture of Arab blood, their 
culture is of the most primitive 
type. On the other hand, they 


The Gold Coast. 


make excellent military mate- 
rial, as they have proved since 
August 1914, by many splendid 
acts of courage, devotion, and 
heroism, which have caused 
their outlandish tribal names 
to bedeck on numerous occa- 
sions the pages of the ' London 

These facts and statistics, 
I fear, are almost as wearisome 
as the eternal squabble about 
the West African "climate" 
itself, but they are neeessary 
for an understanding of what 
is to follow. 

A good many of the races of 
western Europe the Portu- 
guese, the Swedes, the Dutch, 
the Danes, the British, even 
the Huns have had settle- 
ments, one time or another, on 
the sea-shores of the Gold Coast, 
and as early as the reign of 
Charles II. the purity of the 
precious metal brought from 
this part of Guinea gave it a 
premium of a shilling in the 
pound, and conferred a name 
upon a now obsolete, but still 
much quoted, British coin. I 
often wonder whether members 
of the medical profession, law- 
yers, and auctioneers ever 
realise what a debt of grati- 
tude they owe on this account 
to this remote corner of the 

With the series of more or 
less accidental incidents which 
led to the disappearance and 
elimination of the other 
European elements I am not 
here concerned. The reader, if 
he be curious on the subject, 
will find the story admirably 
told in Dr Claridge's monu- 
mental * History of the Gold 
Coast.' It was not until 1900, 

however, that the British began 
seriously to extend their effec- 
tive administration to Ashanti 
and beyond, and up to that 
time the frequent raids and the 
constant menace to which the 
tribes nearer the coast were 
subjected by the Ashanti 
Federation rendered social and 
economical development a 
matter of much difficulty. 

It is to some of the peculiar 
features of that development 
that I propose in this article 
to direct attention. 

The West African negro has 
often been reproached with his 
failure to develop any high 
form of civilisation. It has 
been pointed out ad nauseam 
that he has never sculped a 
statue, painted a picture, pro- 
duced a literature, or even in- 
vented any mechanical contriv- 
ance worthy of the name, all 
of which is perfectly true. 
Buckle, in his sweeping and 
comfortable fashion, accounted 
for this by what he described 
as the "penury" to which 
nature had " doomed " him, but 
Buckle had apparently never 
heard of the luxuriant forest 
country in which the Twi- 
speaking tribes have their home. 
His explanation, therefore, fails 
to fit the case, but I am none 
the less disposed to agree with 
him that nature, rather than 
the negro of the Gold Coast, is 
primarily to be blamed. 

Some years ago a story 
in the pages of * Maga ' re- 
counted the apocryphal ad- 
ventures of a traveller in South 
America who was captured by 
a tribe of ants, and was re- 
duced to a condition of abject 
submission by the threatening 


The Gold Coast. 


attentions of ant -ridden hor- 
nets. This tale, in spite of the 
oonvinoing fashion in which 
it was told, seems fantasti- 
cal enough, yet it is a sober 
fact that the negro tribes 
of the Gold Coast have been 
subjected during the whole 
course of their history to a not 
dissimilar experience. 

Recent scientific investi- 
gation has shown that the mi- 
crobe known to the learned as 
Trypanosoma gambiense and 
familiarly to the British sub- 
altern as the Tryp which 
causes sleeping - sickness in 
human beings, and inconti- 
nently destroys polo ponies, is 
to be found in the blood of an 
appreciable percentage of the 
forest- dwelling negroes of West 
Africa. The bulk of the popu- 
lation is immune to the disease, 
and epidemics of sleeping-sick- 
ness are accordingly unknown 
among them, though isolated 
cases are of frequent occurrence. 
The infection, however, is carried 
by the tsetse fly, which is all 
too common for comfort in 
many parts of Africa ; and the 
terrible ravages caused by the 
outbreak in Uganda, which first 
fooussed medical attention on 
the disease, was due to the 
passage of Stanley's caravan 
from the western to the eastern 
side of the continent. Many 
of the natives who made that 
adventurous journey have mil- 
lions of Tryps lurking dormant 
and innocuous in their blood. 
In East Africa, though the tse- 
tse fly abounded, they had till 
then been a nuisance, not a 
deadly peril. These insects now 
feasted in joyous innocence upon 
the new-comers from the West, 
sucked millions of Tryp into 

their systems, and thereafter, 
by biting the local population, 
started upon a career of 
slaughter of almost unprece- 
dented magnificence. That, 
however, was East Africa's 
funeral, and our concern is 
with the West Coast. 

Here the Tryp and the tsetse 
fly have maintained their un- 
holy alliance for unnumbered 
generations, the immunity 
from sleeping-sickness which 
the natives have acquired is 
itself a proof of the antiquity 
of the combination; and the 
restrictions which they have 
jointly imposed upon human 
development are mainly re- 
sponsible, I think, for the 
failure of the natives of West 
Africa to evolve for themselves 
any high standard of culture. 

The whole question mainly 
resolves itself into one of 
transport. Though the Tryp 
in some localities has proved 
himself a formidable enemy 
to mankind, he is much more 
destructive of animal life, 
especially of horses and cattle, 
the members of the brute 
creation upon which human 
beings have principally relied 
for aid in locomotion and in 
the transportation of their 
produce by land. The navi- 
gable rivers of West Africa 
are not numerous, having 
regard to the vast extent of 
the country, so they, at best, 
could afford only local and 
very partial relief; and the 
dense forest, which spreads 
inland for so many miles, 
presented in any case a for- 
midable barrier to the passage 
of bulky goods. Now, in all 
primitive communities, agri- 
culture is the initial basis of 


wealth. Commerce is its off- 
spring, and upon the accumu- 
lation of wealth, the inter- 
course with other races that 
results from trade, and upon 
the increased experience, the 
widened outlook, the multi- 
plied needs, and the stimulated 
ambition which these things 
engender, the progressive cul- 
ture of a people very largely 

The negroes of the West 
African forest country, how- 
ever, were effectually deprived 
of all these incentives to de- 
velopment. Though the land 
is wonderfully fertile, they had 
scant inducement to till it. 
There is nothing to be gained 
by cultivating crops that will 
yield more than is required 
for individual consumption un- 
less the surplus can be dis- 
posed of at a profit. In other 
words, agriculture can only 
lead to the accumulation of 
wealth provided that it sup- 
plies a foundation upon which 
a commercial system can be 
reared. The produce of the 
soil, however, is at once low- 
priced and bulky; and in 
West Africa each community 
found that the task of growing 
its own foodstuffs was lighter 
than that of attempting to 
carry the fruit of their labour 
to market. There were, of 
course, a few specialised 
branches of commerce in ex- 
istence on the Gold Coast 
from, comparatively speaking, 
very early times. Thus salt, 
which is among the primary 
necessities of any tropical 
people, was obtained from the 
lagoons, and found its way 
inland, being passed on from 
tribe to tribe as an article of 

The Gold Coast. 


barter. The same was done 
with salt fish; and the kola- 
nuts of Ashanti, which re- 
quired to be picked, not cul- 
tivated, and the gold dust 
washed from the banks of 
streams, were annually trans- 
ported into the interior by 
caravans of pack asses or 
ponies that came down to 
the fringe of the forest coun- 
try for the purpose, and were 
under the charge of Arabs or 
of natives who had come under 
Arab influence. 

This trade, however, was 
negligible in volume, and was 
not of a kind to produce much 
effect upon the social develop- 
ment of the forest dwellers. 
It filtered in a leisurely 
fashion through the country, 
and brought the tribes that 
engaged in it into contact 
with none save its nearest 
neighbours. It, therefore, did 
not appreciably relieve the 
isolation in which they lived; 
it exposed the natives to no 
new influences, infected them 
with no new ideas ; and it left 
them as it found them, small 
independent communities, self- 
supporting, self-contained, and 
self - sufficing. Their culture, 
accordingly, remained on a 
par with that of the more 
primitive hill tribes of tropi- 
cal Asia. That is to say, they 
provided themselves with food 
by planting communal food 
patches and by searching the 
neighbouring jungle for snails 
and other delicacies tempting 
to the appetite ; they tapped 
the self-sown palm-trees for 
liquor, and expressed the oil 
from their pericarps for edible 
purposes; they panned for 
gold, and fashioned therefrom 

56 The Gold Coast. [Jan. 

ornaments for their chiefs, and exist, for all land belonged to 
to a minor extent for their the community, though the 
womenkind ; they smelted iron members of a family were 
and forged a few tools and recognised as having a cer- 
weapons. Beyond these nar- tain right to the food -patch 
row limits of human attain- which had been cultivated, 
ment, however, they had and to the hut that had been 
neither the opportunity nor erected by their joint labour, 
the means to progress. From Even the heavy gold orna- 
time to time parts of a com- ments, with which the persons 
munity might overflow from of the chiefs were bedecked 
the parent village and start upon state occasions, did not 
a new hamlet elsewhere, but in any sense belong to the 
the patriarchal spirit was men who wore them. They 
strong among the people, and were the property of the 
the allegiance which was owed "Stool" the traditional seat 
to the tribal " Stool" or throne, of his ancestors and of those 
and to the chief who was of the tribesmen, and his 
the occupant, bound these off- connection with this mystic 
shoots of the original stock piece of furniture conferred 
together. Land for oultiva- upon him such sanctity and 
tion, and adjoining forest authority as he possessed 
areas for hunting and ex- qualities which were not re- 
ploitation, were available in garded as being inherent in 
plenty. There was room and the individual himself, 
to spare for all, and it was It will thus be seen that 
mainly when war broke out, there was no element in the 
or when two or more tribes social circumstances of these 
banded together for defence tribes of a kind that was in 
or offence, that these com- any way calculated to bring 
munities came into contact about change or improvement, 
with even their nearest neigh- They were wedged into a 
bours. Once in a while a secluded corner of the earth, 
tribe, more energetic than its out off from their fellows, so 
fellows, would start forth upon hampered by transport diffi- 
a career of conquest, in the oulties that agricultural de- 
course of which it would in- velopment on a commercial 
fliot an immense amount of scale was denied to them, and 
misery upon other commu- rendered by their environment 
nities ; but these invasions so self - sufficing that inter- 
brought with them no new course with other communities, 
culture, and were detrimental, save in the way of raid or 
not stimulating, to local civil- rapine, held for them no ad- 
isation. vantages. As a direct out- 
All these circumstances, come of these things, moreover, 
moreover, inevitably tended they had been driven to evolve 
to give individuality to the a system of paralysing State 
tribe, not to the men who socialism, which suppressed in- 
composed it. Personal pro- dividuality, put an end to 
pertv could hardly be said to competition by depriving sue- 


The Gold Coast. 


cess of its reward, exacted a 
fair share of manual labour 
from every member of the 
tribe, and thereby made the 
growth of a leisured or in- 
tellectual class impossible. It 
is difficult to conceive any set 
of circumstances more nicely 
calculated than these to wilt 
the mental and inventive en- 
ergies of man. In a State 
where the entire adult popula- 
tion could meet to discuss its 
tribal affairs and in practice 
did this at least once a year 
there was scant need for a 
written scrip for purposes of 
record. In a land where each 
community " kept itself to 
itself" as much as possible, 
there was even less use for 
literary correspondence. Both 
purposes were served quite 
effectually by the "language 
of the drums" that extra- 
ordinary and elaborate system 
of signalling by drum-beating 
which, in the Gold Coast, con- 
veys essential information to 
all the people of a tribe in an 
incredibly short space of time. 
Here, by the way, is a highly 
specialised art which the West 
African has invented, and not 
only invented, but rendered 
almost perfect. That he con- 
trived nothing of a more 
literary character is due to 
the fact that he had no need 
for anything of the sort, and 
necessity, as we know, is the 
mother of invention. This ap- 
plies with equal feroe to the 
whole of his culture. It was 
developed by him up to the 
measure of his requirements, 
and, lacking the stimulus of 
extraneous influences, he had 
no sort of incentive t carry 
it up to higher standards. 

Thus the negroes of West 
Africa might, I think, have 
gone on indefinitely living the 
life which the circumstances 
of their isolation and environ- 
ment had combined to impose 
upon them, without anything 
in the nature of an internal 
event occurring to rowel them 
onward along the road of im- 
provement or of social and 
cultural development. To break 
the smooth current of their 
utilitarian conservatism, pro- 
pulsion from without was 
needed, and this disturb- 
ing influence was eventually 
brought to bear upon the 
natives of West Africa by 
the European trade - adven- 
turers who arrived on the 
Coas^ during the concluding 
decaaes of the fifteenth 

The new-comers, however, 
were interested, not in the 
moral or material " up-lifting," 
as the Americans call it, of the 
negro tribesmen, but in the 
rapid acquisition of wealth ; 
and provided that this latter 
object was achieved, they were 
content to allow the social and 
cultural development of the 
people to take care of itself. 
The arrival of the white men, 
moreover, did nothing to relax 
the pressure which the tsetse 
fly, aided by the Tryp, had so 
long exerted upon local civilisa- 
tion, and which had so much 
to do with the shaping of the 
unyielding mould in which it 
had been oast. This is strik- 
ingly illustrated by the char- 
acter of the commerce which, 
in the first instance, sprang up 
between the white men and the 
native population. It was at 
first confined, almost exolus- 


The Bold Coast. 


ively, to gold and ivory, both 
of which are articles of great 
value and of little weight or 
bulk. They were, therefore, 
peculiarly suited to the pur- 
poses of a people in whose 
country head - carriage the 
least efficient and the most 
brutalising means of transport 
that can be devised is alone 
available. The next develop- 
ment of trade between the 
white men and the natives is 
more significant still. The ex- 
traordinary convenience of an 
article of barter that could be 
made to walk to market must 
early have impressed itself upon 
the mind of the practical and 
labour-loathing African, and 
must have caused the slave 
trade to make to him a very 
special appeal. Domestic slav- 
ery, of course, had always ex- 
isted, but an organised traffic 
in human beings was new to the 
West Coast. Africa is a con- 
tinent of vast distances, of poor 
natural means of communica- 
tion, and over large areas the 
tsetse fly has made vehicular 
traffic or the use of pack ani- 
mals impossible ; and to this, I 
think, is to be attributed the 
fact that commerce in slaves 
has here been raised to the 
level of a principal industry, 
and has in its time assumed 
proportions which are without 
a parallel in any other part of 
the habitable earth. 

The ancient castle in which 
I sit writing these lines, and 
all its many counterparts up 
and down the Coast, are monu- 
ments of that shameful traffic 
which to-day stand forth grimly 
to mock the modern English- 
man's boasted love of liberty 
and justice for all men, and 

to excuse and account for 
the distrust and suspicion of 
the white man that still lurks 
in the heart of the aver- 
age West African negro. Be- 
neath my feet are the gloomy 
dungeons, lighted only by fun- 
nel-shaped loopholes bored in 
the immensely thick walls, in 
which, decade after decade, the 
slaves were assembled and con- 
fined until the time came for 
them to exchange their horrors 
for the unspeakable inferno of 
the slaver's hold and the terrors 
of a boundless ocean. Local 
records and traditions have 
many ill stories to relate of the 
indecent scramble for the lion's 
share of this ignoble traffic, in 
which so many of the white 
nations engaged with such 
eagerness; and one British 
governor, at least, committed 
the incredible crime of surren- 
dering half the refugees of a 
friendly tribe, who had fled to 
him for protection, to the tender 
mercies of an Ashanti army, on 
the condition that the remainder 
were made over to him to sell 
for what they would fetch. 
Can it be wondered if, in lands 
where such memories still 
linger, many years of just and 
sympathetic government will 
yet be needed fully to convince 
the native that the white man 
is to-day animated by high 
ideals, and that he is little 
likely to act the part either of 
the tyrant or of the knave? 

It will be seen, therefore, 
that the outside influence 
which, at the long last, came 
to West Africa and broke in 
upon the isolation of its peoples, 
was that of the European in 
his most grasping and brutal- 
ised mood. Thus, while it im- 

The Gold Coast. 


parted a certain onward im- 
petus to local civilisation, by 
multiplying the requirements 
of the natives, and by in- 
creasing their material wealth, 
its moral effects were not 

Gradually the public con- 
science of the white nations 
rebelled against the slave-trade, 
and at last, and with infinite 
difficulty, it was finally and 
effectually suppressed mainly 
by means of British sea-power. 
It was not finally abolished by 
law, however, until 1807, and 
the illicit traffic had to be 
stamped out for some years 
after that date. At that time, 
moreover, no other trade had 
sprung up to take the place of 
the commerce in slaves, and 
for a period there was a strong 
inclination, even in Great 
Britain, to abandon settlements 
that had ceased to be remuner- 
ative, and a country whose 
principal article of export was 
now prohibited. Better coun- 
sels, however, prevailed, and 
though several of the smaller 
nations f Europe withdrew 
from the Coast, the British and 
the Dutch still maintained 
their forts as trading stations. 

The headquarters of the 
former were at Cape Coast, but 
the interests of the white men 
in West Africa continued to be 
exclusively commercial ; and it 
was not until 1830 that a 
Governor was appointed who 
was possessed of any breadth 
of outlook, or who recognised 
that the presence of English- 
men in these primitive lands 
involved the assumption of a 
certain measure of responsi- 
bility for the wellbeing of the 
natives. This man was George 


Maclean, the husband of the 
poetess L.E.L., whose tragic 
death in 1837 exposed him 
to so mueh wholly unmerited 
suspicion and calumny. His 
memory is still held in affec- 
tionate remembrance by the 
people of the Gold Coast. 

In those days the jurisdiction 
of the white men ran only in 
the immediate vicinity of their 
forts. They had neither at- 
tempted nor secured any do- 
minion over the little Native 
States by which they were 
surrounded, and these existed 
then, as they had existed in 
the past and as they exist 
to-day, as a number of self- 
contained and independent 
political entities, each of which 
is governed by its elected Chief, 
with the aid of his Councillors. 
Maclean was the first European 
to set up a court of justice in 
the Gold Coast, and very 
rapidly there spread among 
the native population a rumour 
at first clearly apocryphal 
and incredible that here judg- 
ment was given on the merits 
of any submitted case, without 
fear or favour, affection or ill- 
will. Disbelief died hard, I 
make no doubt; but presently 
folk began to troop in from 
the surrounding districts to 
lay their disputes before this 
oracular and incomprehensible 
white man. That, one is glad 
to remember, for in West 
Africa the European record 
holds all too much of a kind to 
occasion shame, was the real 
beginning of British rule upon 
the Gold Coast. It would not 
be easy in any part of the 
Empire to find for it a more 
honourable foundation- stone, or 
one the laying of which was 


The Gold Coast. 


inspired by more altruistic 

Up to the time that wit- 
nessed the collapse of the slave- 
trade, the social condition of 
the natives, as has been already 
noted, had undergone no ma- 
terial change, except that a 
demand for goods of European 
manufacture had been created 
among them. This need had 
to be satisfied, and as slaves 
were no longer marketable, the 
negroes were compelled to ex- 
ploit the natural wealth of 
their forests for the purposes of 
commerce. Palm - oil, palm- 
kernels, or rubber were to be 
obtained in most districts by 
any one who possessed the 
necessary energy to enter the 
jungle in search of them, and 
these articles were in demand 
among the white traders. Trade 
was thus shifted, for the first 
time, from gold, ivory, and 
human beings to forest pro- 
duce; but though this was a 
step in advance, it introduced 
no new art, and accordingly 
imparted no strong stimulus to 
the cultural development of the 
natives. The tribes of the 
Coast region, and for some 
eighty miles inland, lived, more- 
over, under the perpetual 
menace of Ashanti invasion; 
and this, while it more or less 
paralysed their racial progress, 
caused these little Native 
States to seek the protection 
of the white men. Thus the 
Gold Coast Colony of to-day, 
rightly viewed, is not a terri- 
tory which Great Britain has 
conquered, annexed, or settled, 
but a federation of small in- 
dependent States, consolidated 
by British influence, but brought 
into being at the instance of 

the people themselves, who 
have voluntarily made certain 
sacrifices of time-honoured but 
indefensible tribal customs in 
exchange for the protection of 
His Majesty's Government. 
Had they been abandoned by 
Great Britain, as was so 
strongly advocated early in 
the nineteenth century, they 
would, one and all, it is prob- 
able, have been reduced to sub- 
jection by the Ashantis. On 
this occasion, however, the 
"policy of scuttle" for once 
did not prevail; but it was 
not until 1900-1 that the 
power of Ashanti was finally 
crushed by native troops, 
trained and led by British 
officers an event that marked 
a new era in the history of 
the Gold Coast. Thereafter, for 
the first time in all their age- 
long history, there was afforded 
to the people of this part of 
West Africa a fair field and no 
favour in the area of social 
progress and development. 

I would invite those who 
hold pessimistic opinions con- 
cerning the potential ability of 
the West African negro to ad- 
vance along the path of civilis- 
ation, to consider the extra- 
ordinary revolutions which 
have been witnessed in the 
Gold Coast of recent years, 
and the fashion in which the 
native population has availed 
itself of the opportunity, so 
long withheld, that has at 
last been afforded to them. 

I have said that the over- 
throw of the Ashanti tyranny 
by the force under the com- 
mand of Sir James Willeooks, 
and the reduction of that 
troubled and trouble - produo- 


The Gold Coast. 


ing laud to a state of law 
and order, marked a new era 
in the history of the Gold 
Coast. Exactly ten years 
earlier, however, another event 
had occurred which, in my 
estimation, is to be recog- 
nised as even more epoch- 
marking in its character. 
This was the exportation from 
the Gold Coast in 1891 of a 
consignment of locally grown 
cocoa, weighing 80 lb., and 
valued at 4 sterling. 

In almost any other part 
of the world this would, at 
best, have meant nothing more 
remarkable than the tentative 
beginnings of a new industry. 
Given the past history of the 
West African negroes, how- 
ever, it here represented some- 
thing much more important 
and significant. It meant, in- 
deed, nothing less than that a 
great stride forward had been 
locally made in the culture of the 
people an advance comparable 
to, and quite as far-reaching in 
its effects as, that which marked 
in its day the transition from 
the Palaeolithic to the Neo- 
lithic Age, or from the Age 
of Stone to that of Metal. 
It meant that, for the first 
time in the history of West 
Africa, the cultivation of a 
permanent crop had been at- 
tempted, and, moreover, that 
the resulting fruits were being 
used, not for local consump- 
tion, but as an article of com- 
merce. Any student of eth- 
nology will realise how steep 
a step on the road of human 
progress is represented by an 
advance such as this ; nor will 
he withhold his tribute of ad- 
miration from a people who 
eagerly assimilated that which 

to them was so wholly novel a 
conception, who forthwith re- 
cognised the promise it held 
forth to them, and who seized 
with avidity this, the first real 
opportunity for social devel- 
opment that had ever been 
afforded to them or to their 

The extent to which the 
people of the Gold Coast 
availed themselves of this 
chance, is best shown by the 
following figures. In 1901, ten 
years after the first consign- 
ment had been shipped, and at 
the moment when the Ashanti 
despotism was being finally 
crushed, the export of cocoa 
had increased from 80 lb. to 
960 tons, and its value from 
4 to 42,827. That was a 
substantial advance, seeing that 
the people had to contend, as 
of old, with appalling diffi- 
culties of transport, and that 
the shadow of hostile invasion 
had not even then been com- 
pletely removed. The next 
decade, however, was one of 
peace and development, and 
the natives enjoyed a security 
which had never before been 
known in equal measure. A 
beginning, too, had been made 
in the direction of railway and 
road construction for the pur- 
pose of diminishing the crip- 
pling difficulties of transport. 
The Tryp and the tsetse, how- 
ever, still held the field ; in the 
absence of traction-animals no 
vehicular traffic was possible, 
except on the railway ; and an 
appreciable proportion of the 
total population squandered its 
labour on the exhausting and 
degrading work of head-car- 
riage. Yet, in spite of all dis- 
advantages, the new industry 


The Gold Coast. 


throve, and by 1911 the end 
of a third deoade the export 
of ooooa had risen from 960 
to 35,261 tons, valued at 
1,613,468. Towards the end 
of that period, moreover, the 
motor-lorry had made its ap- 
pearanoe, and though the great 
lumbering vehicles first intro- 
duced reduced the local roads 
to ruins, and quickly wore 
themselves to scrap, a beast of 
burden which could defy the 
tsetse and the Tryp had at last 
made its appearance in the 
West African bush. 

Then arose Mr Ferd of the 
United States of America. 
Those who remember his peace- 
circus may, perhaps, be dis- 
posed to poke fun at Mr Ford : 
not so, however, the people of 
the Gold Coast, who owe to 
him an eternal debt of grati- 
tude. He placed on the market 
a very light and durable chassis, 
that could be landed on our 
shores at a cost of about 100, 
and which, being constructed 
of standardised parts, could 
have its life prolonged almost 
indefinitely by means of repairs 
locally executed. This vehicle, 
it was soon found, could run 
not only over the few big high- 
ways constructed by Govern- 
ment, but over tracks which 
the tribal communities could 
make for themselves under the 
supervision of their District 
Commissioners; and thus, at 
last, a practical and efficient 
solution was applied to the 
transport difficulties of the 
country difficulties which, as 
we have seen, had sufficed to 
keep local civilisation and pro- 
gress in chains for so many 
centuries. In spite of the war, 
the effect of this is to be marked 

in the figures of 1916, the last 
year of another half-decade of 
progress. These showed that 
the export of cocoa amounted 
to 72,161 tons, and its value to 
3,847,720 considerably more 
than double the crop of 1911, 
and more than a third of the 
total cocoa -production of the 
world. It must be added that 
practically every pound was 
grown by native cocoa-farmers, 
aided only by such advice and 
assistance as could be afforded 
by an Agricultural Department 
which the war had sadly de- 
pleted of its European per- 

I must now try, very briefly, 
to indicate some of the princi- 
pal features of the tremendous 
social revolution which has 
been witnessed in the Gold 
Coast during the past five-and- 
twenty years, and which has 
resulted from the facts just 

At the beginning of that 
period that is to say, in 1891 
we have a native population 
whose cultural development 
has never progressed beyond 
the stage of the planter of 
temporary food-patches, and 
the worker of self-sown jungle 
produce. At its end in 1916, 
after an earth-shaking war has 
been raging for more than two 
years we find these same 
people engaged in a permanent 
agricultural enterprise of the 
first magnitude, and supplying 
the world with one-third of the 
ooooa that it annually con- 
sumes. It is European sugges- 
tion, it is true, that set their 
feet at last upon the path of 
innovation, but it was left to 
the natives themselves to use 


The Gold Coast. 


or to discard it. If a handful 
of the moat energetic and en- 
lightened among them had 
determined upon the former 
course, their decision would not 
have been specially surprising, 
though it entailed a departure 
from the immemorial practices 
of their people. In the Gold 
Coast, however, the movement 
has not been individual, or 
even tribal. It has been uni- 
versal throughout the Twi- 
speaking States. 

In 1891 the total value of 
the exports of the Gold Coast, 
which were produced by un- 
assisted native labour I 
exclude from this category, of 
course, gold that is mined and 
lumber which is extracted 
under European management, 
amounted to rather less 
than 530,000. They consisted 
mainly of palm-oil, palm ker- 
nels, rubber, and other jungle 
produce, including such things 
as 30,000 monkey skins, priced 
at a pound a piece. In 1916 
the articles of export produced 
by unassisted native enterprise 
were valued at 4,240,000, and 
of this handsome total cocoa 
accounted for no less than 
3,847,720. The more primi- 
tive and outlandish objects 
had vanished from the lists 
monkeys, for instance, were 
now having a quiet time of it ; 
but these figures indicate that 
the income of the native rural 
population had been multiplied 
by eight in the course of five- 
and-twenty years. In actual 
practice, of course, the change 
in the financial position of the 
population is even greater than 
this would seem to imply. 
Some individuals began plant- 
ing cocoa sooner than others; 

certain tribes took to the in- 
dustry more quickly than their 
neighbours; in some localities 
the crops were specially pro- 
ductive. The distribution of 
the new wealth was not, there- 
fore, uniform, and in many 
parts of the country incomes 
have been multiplied, not by 
eight or ten, but by a hundred 
or more; and in the Eastern 
Province, which "got going" 
first of all, family incomes of 
one or two thousand pounds 
per annum are to-day by no 
means uncommon. Here and 
there even larger fortunes have 
been made, and the fact of such 
big sums annually finding their 
way into circulation has 
greatly tended to stimulate 
local prosperity. 

The first, and perhaps the 
most notable, effect which the 
sudden rise of this industry has 
had upon the native population, 
is the alteration which it is 
working in their notions con- 
cerning real property. Theo- 
retically, all land belongs to 
the tribe, though, as we have 
seen, the family which planted 
a temporary food -patch was 
regarded as having a certain 
right to the fruits of its 
collective labour. This was a 
system which it was very 
natural for a people to evolve 
whose culture did not include 
any save shifting cultivation. 
The introduction of agriculture 
of a permanent character was 
to them, however, an extra- 
ordinary revolution, entailing a 
change not merely of degree, 
but of kind. If the land be- 
longed to the tribe, and the 
fruits which labour wrung from 
it to the tiller of it, when the 
occupation by the latter ran 


The Gold Coast. 


into a long period of years, 
instead of lasting only for a 
season or so, what became of 
the communal property in the 
soil ? The Twi-speaking Native 
States are governed on very 
democratic principles, which 
include the right of the people 
to depose a chief if his personal 
or public conduct does not meet 
with their approval. The 
position of the planter of a 
cocoa-garden vis-a-vis the tribe 
was a matter in which the 
popular will supported the 
individual, as against the com- 
munity, for very soon the vast 
majority of the tribesmen were 
themselves the planters of cocoa- 
gardens. Immemorial custom 
might say one thing, but im- 
mediate and personal interests 
said another, and that in tones 
that would take no denial. 
Accordingly, though the theory 
of the communal ownership of 
all land stands as four-square 
as ever, in practice the property 
of the individual in his cocoa- 
trees is fully recognised, and it 
passes on his death to his 
next of kin with the rest of his 
personal effects. Thus, for the 
first time in the history of these 
people, the tribesman has be- 
come possessed of interests 
which are distinctively his own, 
quite apart from those of the 
community, and the seeds of 
ambition, of competition, and 
of the advance to better things 
which these imply, have been 
sown broadcast among the 
native population. 

Already the effects are to 
be noted. The Twi-speaking 
tribal system makes provision 
for a Paramount Chief, who 
is an elective monarch; the 
Chiefs, Sub-Chiefs, Elders and 

Councillors, who may be said 
to represent the nobles; and 
the "young men," who form 
the Third Estate. In theory 
this organisation is of a most 
democratic character, the Para- 
mount Chief and all his prin- 
cipal subordinates being elected, 
respectively, by the whole tribe, 
or by certain sections of the 
community. The choice of the 
people, however, is restricted to 
the members of one or more 
families, the succession passing 
through the female, not through 
the male line. In actual prac- 
tice, however, the selection of 
a chief for the Paramount, or 
for any subordinate, office has 
usually been made by the 
nobles, the consent of the Third 
Estate being given more or less 
as a matter of course, or being 
even taken for granted. This 
was natural enough in the old 
days, for, as I have mentioned, 
the entire political and social 
system of these people tended 
towards the suppression of 
individuality. But to-day the 
"young men" the term is 
used to indicate their position 
in the tribe, and bears no 
reference at all to their age 
may be, and often are, highly 
successful cocoa-planters, and 
possessed, as such, of great 
wealth. Riches mean power 
all the world over, but indi- 
vidual affluence is as new a 
thing in the Gold Coast as 
permanent cultivation itself. 
"Young men" of pre-eminent 
social standing and of great 
influence over their fellows are 
a novel and startling feature 
in local tribal polity, and the 
democratic system, which pro- 
vides for the legal deposition 
of a chief at the dictates of 


The Gold Coabt. 


the popular will, places in their 
hands an extraordinarily strong 
weapon of oifence. Of old such 
peaceful and orderly revolutions 
were of infrequent occurrence, 
and the impulse which occa- 
sioned them usually came from 
the nobles. To-day they annu- 
ally become more and more 
common, and the initiators are 
most often the " young men" 
themselves, headed by the most 
wealthy and intelligent mem- 
bers of their class. This, it is 
probable, is but the beginning 
of a political transformation, 
the effects of which upon the 
tribes, and upon their system 
of government, it is as yet too 
early clearly to foresee, 

There is another direction 
in which the changed concep- 
tions concerning the value of 
real property, which have been 
induced by the spread of cocoa- 
cultivation, is operating upon 
the tribes. Formerly, when 
agriculture was confined to 
the growing of food-crops in 
comparatively small areas tem- 
porarily cleared for the pur- 
pose, there was an abundance 
of land for the requirements of 
all the tribes, and the boun- 
daries which divided the terri- 
tory of one community from 
that of its neighbours were 
very roughly marked and ex- 
cited little controversy. When 
the cocoa - gardens began to 
extend in every direction, how- 
ever, the question of the exact 
position of tribal frontiers, not 
only along the main highways 
of traffic but even in the 
depth of the forest, assumed 
in the eyes of the natives a 
new and tremendous import- 
ance. Now, in West Africa, 


and indeed, as far as my ex- 
perience goes, in all our tropi- 
cal colonies, east and west, 
the Law Courts which the 
British have set up are to the 
natives of the country what 
the football match, the music- 
hall, and the cinema would be 
to the English artisan if all 
those three delights were rolled 
into one. Here, then, with 
matter for dispute supplied in 
liberal measure by innumer- 
able complicated boundary 
questions, and with the abun- 
dance of ready money derived 
from the sale of large quan- 
tities of cocoa, were means 
furnished of gratifying to an 
undreamed-of extent a rapaci- 
ous and morbid tribal appetite 
for litigation. The deplorable 
results of this are enshrined in 
the records of the Supreme 
Court, and in those of the 
Privy Council, to which august 
body most oases are carried, 
as a matter of course, if tribal 
finances will still endure the 
strain. The local lawyer has 
reaped a rich harvest; but 
some native communities, it is 
to be feared, have emerged 
from these forensic battles in 
a condition of more material 
ruin than would have been 
likely to result from the more 
primitive form of warfare 
which these contests have re- 

A more pleasing and satis- 
factory aspect of the social 
revolution now in progress in 
the Gold Coast is revealed by 
the use which the natives are 
making of their newly-acquired 
wealth, apart from their un- 
fortunate passion for litigation. 


The Gold Coast. 


This is shown in a very strik- 
ing fashion by a comparison of 
the Customs' returns for the 
years 1891 and 1916 respec- 
tively, in so far as these relate 
to articles which are mainly or 
exclusively imported for native 

" The drink - sodden native 
of the Coast " is as traditional, 
and, so far as my observations 
and inquiries carry me, quite 
as mythical, as the "deadly 
climate" itself. I have tra- 
velled widely throughout the 
Gold Coast and Ashanti, and 
have spent months on end on 
such journeys, welcomed every- 
where by great concourses of 
the people in circumstances of 
intense local excitement. If 
drunkenness were as common 
as it is the fashion often to 
represent it, a good deal of 
it must inevitably have come 
under my notice on occasions 
such as these. As a matter 
of fact, however, I have seen, 
from first to last, fewer oases 
of intoxication than I have 
witnessed on a single Bank 
Holiday in London forty years 
ago. An habitual drunkard 
is, on the Gold Coast, a very 
rare being, and public opinion 
so condemns him that a chief 
who indulges in such weak- 
ness is liable to be deposed 
by his subjects, the charge, 
if proved against him, being 
held to be in itself sufficient 
to demonstrate his unfitness 
for his post. On the other 
hand, large numbers of the 
tribesmen over - indulge on 
ceremonial occasions, notably 
at funerals. That death can 
be due to natural causes is 
a theory which is difficult of 
acceptance by primitive minds, 

and the extravagant expres- 
sions of grief and lamentation, 
whieh are considered necessary 
at a " wake," are designed by 
the individual mourner to con- 
vince his neighbours that he, 
at any rate, has had no share 
in the magic that has brought 
the dear departed prematurely 
to the grave. The mad scenes 
of organised woe which are 
thus enacted owe a measure 
of their energy, often enough, 
to the stimulus of intoxicants ; 
but even on these occasions it 
is not prudent to conclude that 
those who are comporting 
themselves with such extra- 
vagance are necessarily the 
worse for liquor. Appear- 
ances may seem to warrant 
such a conclusion, but a 
mourner will break off, in 
the midst of the wildest and 
noisiest praises of the deceased 
and the most lively demonstra- 
tions of sorrow, to discuss the 
weather, the crops, and the 
price of cocoa, with perfect 
calmness and lucidity. 

Moreover, if the consump- 
tion of ardent spirits were 
indeed the master-passion of 
the West African, as is fre- 
quently and mistakenly al- 
leged, the great wealth which 
has been so suddenly poured 
into the laps of the natives of 
the Gold Coast must have led 
to their speedy demoralisation. 
It would also be reflected in the 
returns which show the amount 
of liquor imported. Now, in 
1891, the quantity of rum and 
gin brought into the country 
amounted to 1,190,273 gallons. 
Five-and-twenty years later 
in 1916 the quantity was 
1,603,323, an increase of less 
than 35 per cent. Spirits were 


The Gold Coast. 


more expensive, owing to in- 
creased taxation and other 
causes, in 1916 than they were 
in 1891, and in the former year 
the people paid 130,602 for 
their drink, whereas in 1891 
they had only paid 75,309. 
In the interval, as we have 
seen, the income of the natives 
had been multiplied by eight, 
whereas, during the same period, 
their liquor bill had not even 
been doubled ; from which facts 
I draw the inevitable conclusion 
that, with increasing prosperity 
and the enlarged outlook upon 
life which improved circum- 
stances and the spread of edu- 
cation bring in their train, the 
natives of the Gold Coast have 
convinced themselves that there 
are many things in the world 
which are more desirable than 
ardent spirits. Moreover, the 
small increase of 35 per cent 
in the quantity consumed indi- 
cates an actual decrease in the 
consumption per head ; for 
during the past five-and-twenty 
years the population, in addi- 
tion to natural increase, has 
been swollen by immigration 
from other West African 
colonies, and many parts of the 
Gold Coast and Ashanti, which 
were formerly inaccessible to 
European trade, have been 
opened up. Thus the range of 
distribution has been greatly 
extended, and the number of 
consumers has been much aug- 

It is interesting also to 
notice how much the rate of 
expenditure by the natives has 
increased in directions of an 
entirely different kind. In 
1891, for instance, they spent 
8607 on wearing apparel ; 
in 1916 they spent 152,936. 

In 1891 they bought hardware 
and earthenware to the value 
of just over 16,000; in 1916 
they spent more than 210,000 
on household utensils of this 
character. In 1891 they con- 
sumed only 3627 cwt. of sugar ; 
in 1916 they consumed 34,974 
owt. If cleanliness, indeed, rank 
next to godliness, the fact that 
the population in 1916 used 
59,580 owt. of soap, and the men 
of 1891 only 7453 cwt,, must 
be accounted to the former for 
righteousness. They consume 
more than nine times as much 
kerosene for lighting purposes ; 
nine times as much rice, nearly 
ten times as much flour, and 
eleven times as much salt beef 
and pork as in 1891, and the 
latter in spite of the fact that 
cattle are now daily slaugh- 
tered for food in all the prin- 
cipal villages throughout the 
cocoa districts. In 1891 they 
spent only 10,618 on imported 
provisions, as against 335,317 
expended in the purchase of 
such goods in 1916; 102,916 
on perfumery, 68,471 on fur- 
niture, and 109,673 on build- 
ing materials, as against 8012, 
709, and 7393 respectively, 
for these purposes in 1891. 
They also consumed 89 times 
as many cigars and cigarettes. 
All these things indicate a 
very substantial advance in 
the standard of living. They 
mean that a large number of 
natives are housed to-day in 
more comfortable and more 
sanitary dwellings than were 
available to their parents a 
quarter of a century ago, while 
some of them have built really 
handsome houses for the use of 
themselves and their families. 
They mean that the average 


The Gold Coast. 


villager's hut is well furnished 
with household utensils, and is 
well lighted after dark; that 
he is provided with suitable 
tools for the cultivation of his 
farm, and that he and his wives 
and children are well-fed, well- 
clothed, and well- washed. That 
some of them drench them- 
selves with scents and cos- 
metics, and that they smoke 
far too many cigarettes, is per- 
haps to be deplored ; but even 
these excesses point to a cer- 
tain, if somewhat crude, striv- 
ing after the beautiful and the 
good. Long before the native 
of the Gold Coast indulges in 
these luxuries, however, he first 
of all emancipates himself from 
the degrading work of carry- 
ing heavy burdens for long 
distances upon his head. This 
task is now performed for him 
by immigrants from other parts 
of West Africa whom he hires 
for the purpose, and to whom 
upon occasion he is prepared 
to pay an extravagant rate 
of wage. For the rest, his 
hunger for education though 
the standard of attainment is 
far from high amounts to a 
passion, the intensity of which 
has no counterpart in any 
other region of the tropics 
with which I am acquainted. 
Here, then, in a word, are to 
be seen the beginnings of a 
newly acquired and rapidly 
expanding civilisation. 

But the fate which has 
pursued the West African 
negro so relentlessly through- 
out the whole course of his 
recorded history has its hand 
still heavy upon him. In the 
past the circumstances of his 
environment have been so 

unpropitious that he has had 
scant chance of developing 
any high cultural standard 
for himself. To - day condi- 
tions are becoming so easy 
for him that he is once more 
deprived of all incentive to 
evolve arts or crafts on his 
own independent initiative. 
The facile expedient of pay- 
ing for all that he wants 
suffices to supply his every 
requirement, and as he is 
never goaded by the sharp 
spur of necessity, it inevitably 
follows that he is content to 
make use of the produce of 
the industry of others, or at 
best to imitate it, and has 
no inducement of any sort to 
devise or to elaborate a dis- 
tinctive culture of his own. 

Much the most notable 
achievement that can be 
placed to his credit is his 
invention, without the assist- 
ance of extraneous influence, 
of the democratic system of 
government and the State 
socialism, which are the basic 
principles upon which his 
tribal polity is founded. Re- 
cent innovations, as I have 
indicated, tend seriously to 
undermine this system ; and 
it is interesting to note 
that while European political 
theorists are apparently work- 
ing their way back to a state 
of things closely resembling 
that which the Twi-speaking 
peoples long ago evolved for 
themselves, the latter are dis- 
playing an inclination to dis- 
card them as an immediate 
and inevitable accompaniment 
of their first real and solid 
advance towards a higher 
standard of civilisation. 

1918.] 69 


FAINT against the twilight, dim against the evening, 
Fading into darkness against the lapping sea, 
She sailed away from harbour, from safety into danger, 
The ship that took him from me my sailor boy from me. 

He went away to join her, from me that loved and bore him, 
Loved him ere I bore him, that was all the world to me. 
"No time for leave, mother, must be back this evening, 
Time for our patrol again, across the winter sea." 

Six times over, since he went to join her, 

Came he to see me, to run back again. 

" Four hours' leave, mother still got the steam up, 

Going on patrol to-night the old East lane." 

"Seven times lucky, and perhaps we'll have a battle, 
Then I'll bring a medal back and give it you to keep." 
And his name is in the paper, with close upon a hundred, 
Who lie there beside him, many fathom deep. 

And beside him in the paper, somebody is writing, 
God ! but how I hate him a liar and a fool, 
"Where is the British Navy is it staying in the harbours? 
Has the Nelson spirit in the Fleet begun to cool?" 


Are the prices high and taxes stiff, is the prospect sad and 

Have you seen your capital dwindle down as low as the 

German mark? 
Do you feel your troubles around you rise in an endless 

dreary wall? 
Well thank your God you were born in time for the Greatest 

War of all. 

It will be all right in a thousand years you won't be bank- 
rupt then. 

This isn't the time of stocks and shares, it's just the age 
of men. 

The one that sticks it out will win so don't lie down and 

But thank your God you've helped to win the noblest War 
of all. 

70 On Patrol IV. [Jan. 

Away to the East in Flanders' mud, through Dante's dream 

of Hell, 
The troops are working hard for peace with bayonet, bomb, 

and shell, 

With poison gas and roaring guns beneath a smoking pall; 
Yes thank your God your kin are there the finest troops 

of all. 

You may be stripped of all you have it may be all you say, 
But you'll have your life and eyesight left, so stow your talk 

of pay. 
You won't be dead in a bed of lime with those that heard 

the Call; 
So thank your God you've an easy job in the Greatest War 

of all. 

It isn't the money that's going to count when the Flanders' 
men return, 

And a shake of your hand from Flanders' men is a thing 
you've got to earn. 

Just think how cold it's going to be in the Nation's Judg- 
ment Hall ; 

So blow your troubles and find your soul in the Greatest 
War of all! 


1918.] 71 


As a mountain, Iskander, Bedouins of the surrounding 

which lies in the centre of country, and their language, 

the Libyan Desert, is not though Arabic, contains many 

of great importance, for its words that have a Greek or 

height is probably not much Roman origin, 

more than 800 feet; but as In the days of Alexander 

the highest point in a track- the Great, Siwa was famous 

less desert it is of considerable because of the Temple of 

value to explorers, and also it Jupiter Ammon, traces of 

has a legend concerning it which still remain ; and it 

which lends it a certain was on a journey to consult 

amount of added interest. the oracle of Jupiter that 

The Libyan Desert, which Alexander went to the top 

extends from the Nile Valley of Mt. Iskander. He and his 

on the east to Tripoli on the party, so the legend relates, 

west, was till the war broke left Alexandria, or Iskanderi- 

out a tract of country of yeh, as it was then called, and 

which very little was known lost their way in the desert 

beyond the fact that it con- south of Qattara. Near by 

tained the following oases was the mountain, and Alex- 

Kharga, Dakla, Baharia, Fara- ander mounted to the top in 

fra, Siwa, and Garabub. Ex- the hopes of being able to 

plorers had from time to time see Siwa. The outlook from 

made their way to and from Iskander is particularly hope- 

the various oases, but gen- less, as one can see only miles 

erally speaking nothing was and miles of crumbling lime- 

known of this vast stretch of stone cliffs and hills; and 

desert land. Dakla, Baharia, Alexander gave himself up 

Farafra were seldom if ever for lost. 

visited ; Siwa was only an Then a crow rose from the 

outpost on the Egyptian fron- top of the mountain and flew 

tier; and Garabub, as the in a south-westerly direction, 

Holy City of the Senoussi and Alexander, presuming that 

sect, has never been entered it would go towards water, 

by a white man. decided to follow the line of 

Siwa is of considerable in- its flight, and eventually 

terest, as in bygone days it reached Siwa safely, 

was settled by both Greeks Since those days there is 

and Romans, and it is believed no record of a white man 

that the present population of having climbed to the top of 

this oasis are descendants of Iskander, though one or two 

these races. Certainly they explorers have passed within 

are much fairer than the a few miles or so of its base 


By Light Car to Mt. Iskander. 


and marked its position ap- 
proximately in the map. 

We were therefore pleased, 
and more than pleased, as we 
say in Egypt, when we re- 
ceived orders to make a 
reoonnaissanoe in four light 
oars from Bayud on the 
Matruh-Siwa road to Qattara, 
which is a small oasis on 
the Dabaa-Siwa road. This 
meant crossing a tract of 
country some eighty miles 
wide, practically all of which 
was unexplored, and inciden- 
tally the placing of Mt. 
Iskander correctly on the map. 
The road to Siwa is not 
exactly a racing track, but 
it provides excellent going, 
though it consists only of the 
ordinary desert swept clear of 
stones and cleared of lumps ; 
and by starting from Mersa 
Matruh at 7 A.M. we had 
reached Bayud by midday. 
Bayud is not a town, or even 
a well; it is just a mark in 
the map, and why it should 
have a name is a matter for 

Filling up our petrol tanks 
to the fullest capacity from 
the dump here, we struck out 
in an easterly direction over 
rooky desert, where every ten 
yards the oars bumped over a 
boulder ; but for the most part 
the going was hard, and the 
Ford oar will negotiate any- 
thing but soft sand. Until 
3 P.M. the desert was prac- 
tically featureless, except for 
the wonderful mirages we met 
every mile or so. These 
mirages always took the form 
of palm and other trees grow- 
ing by the side of or actually 
on a marshy lake. At first 

sight they are very wonderful, 
but the explanation is really 
quite simple. The shimmering 
heat waves coming from a 
slight rise in front magnify 
the objects on the desert some 
half mile or mile beyond, so 
that the tiny bushes of scrub 
or patches of gazelle grass are 
enlarged and elongated into 
palm- and fig-trees, while the 
heat waves themselves make 
stretches of glistening water. 
Some attempts to photograph 
them were made, but the whole 
mirage depends entirely on the 
angle of vision, and the picture 
vanishes at once if the angle 
is altered in the slightest 

At 3 P.M. the leading car 
stopped at the edge of a huge 
escarpment that fell away in 
crumbling limestone cliffs to a 
wadi or valley below, and from 
the top we looked across as 
desolate and forbidding a 
stretch of country as could 
be seen in this world. For 
twenty or thirty miles the 
ground dropped in ledges and 
steep cliffs to lower levels, 
broken here and there by high 
ridges of harder limestone that 
had resisted the general dis- 
integration by the weather. 
It was in fact a miniature of 
the Grand Canyon in Arizona, 
except that there was no flow- 
ing river in the lowest level, 
and there was none of the rich 
colouring of different rocks 
and soils. Here everything 
was soft grey limestone, un- 
broken by tree or shrub; but 
as the sun sank and the purple 
shadows of the near distance, 
and the blue shadows farther 
away, crept out across the 


By Light Car to Mt. lakander. 


waste, it took on a weird, awe- 
inspiring beauty that makes 
even the most forbidding 
desert attractive. 

Some twenty miles or so 
from where we stood was a 
oone- shaped peak, and away 
beyond it to the south-east a 
dim shadow on the horizon, 
that we presumed would be 
Iskander. A compass-bearing 
on the peak gave us our line, 
and the next thing was to 
find a way down to the lower 
level. A certain amount of 
risk attends a reconnaissance 
of this description, for if a 
descent is negotiated up which 
one cannot return, and no way 
out is discovered elsewhere, the 
chances of getting back on foot 
are extremely remote. The 
Light Cars of the Western 
District have so far never had 
a casualty from this cause, and 
it speaks well for the daring 
and resourcefulness of officers 
and men that they should have 
patrolled the terrible country 
they have, finding possible 
tracks in impossible country, 
without losing a man or oar 
through a mishap of this de- 

For a few miles we ran 
along the hard edge of the 
escarpment, and then a pos- 
sible means of descent being 
discovered, we took a bearing 
on the Sugar Loaf peak and 
SQt our pointer in the required 
direction. This method of 
running on a compass-bearing 
when the object is not in view 
is so ingenious that it is worth 
describing. Say, for instance, 
the place one is aiming for, but 
which is too far away to be 
seen, lies S.E. by E., the com- 

pass is placed on the ground 
and some conspicuous point 
S.E. by E. is noted. The 
exact bearing of this object 
is taken and the car pointed 
in that direction. On the 
front of the oar is a flat disc, 
in the middle of which stands 
a perpendicular pointer that 
throws a black shadow on the 
disc. On the disc itself is a 
movable piece of metal that is 
the exact size of the shadow, 
and this strip of metal is 
moved round till the shadow 
of the pointer lies exactly on 
it. When the car moves on 
the conspicuous object is fre- 
quently lost sight of, some- 
times for four miles or so, but 
there is no difficulty in running 
in the required direction with 
the help of the shadow on the 
disc. It is necessary, if one 
desires to run very exactly, to 
take a fresh bearing every half 
hour to allow for the move- 
ment of the sun. By taking 
a speedometer reading and 
making a note of the actual 
mileage run on each bearing, 
the Light Car patrols find at 
the end of a day, during which 
they have covered, say, 150 
miles over bad country, that 
their dead reckoning is often 
not more than 1000 yards in 

On this occasion, having run 
down a one-in-three slope of 
soft limestone powder to the 
wadi below, we found we had 
to take a fresh bearing very 
frequently, as we had to follow 
the line of the wadi which 
wound through high cliffs to 
the lowest level in front. The 
rainfall in this part of the 
country is not heavy, but 


By Light Car to Mt. Iskander. 


practically every drop of sur- 
face water in the high desert 
for miles round finds its way 
eventually to this break in 
the escarpment, and has worn 
away the limestone to a re- 
markable degree. 

For the rest of that day we 
churned on through the soft 
limestone powder that rose in 
clouds of white around us, 
parching our lips and burn- 
ing our eyes, and all the while 
a scorching sun, untempered by 
any breeze in this tract of deep 
valleys, made life almost un- 
bearable. At 7 P.M. we had 
run into a tract of gypsum 
and salt crystals lying in the 
powder, and here, as there 
was some grip for the tyres, 
we pulled up for the night in 
a spot that might be called 
"Annihilation's waste." 

It was extremely unlikely 
that any Senoussi patrols 
would be met with in such 
an impossible bit of country, 
and therefore, although it was 
nearly dark, we chanced the 
risk and made a fire to cook 
our Maoonoohie rations and 
boil our tea. Whilst the meal 
was being prepared the me- 
chanics set to work by the 
light of a lantern to replace 
parts and tighten up the nuts 
of the oars, for, as the Cavalry- 
man's first care is his horse, the 
Light Car man's is his oar. 

With the first streak of 
dawn we pulled out the fol- 
lowing morning, and travel- 
ling to still lower levels, passed 
through the most forbidding 
and desolate country. The 
scrub that grows so thickly 
in most parts of the desert 
could find no sustenance here, 

and the only plant we found 
was a rich green rambler, with 
most glorious waxen white 
petals and stamens of pale 
mauve. It was of the briar- 
rose variety, and apparently 
grew on the bare rock. There 
were also white Roman snail- 
shells in countless thousands, 
of which twenty-five per cent 
were occupied by living snails, 
and what these lived on is a 

The limestone in this district 
is full of sea - shells of every 
description whelks, cockles, 
oysters, escallops, butter -fish, 
ormers, &o. These looked so 
fresh that they might have 
been left high and dry only 
by the morning tide. In one 
spot we found traces of a 
Masrab or camel - track, that 
evidently had not been used 
for years, "and by it a broken 
Roman pot, which, like the 
sea-shells, looked as new as 
the day it was broken. There 
was not a sign of life of any 
description, not even a crested 
lark, a bird that appears to 
pick up a living in almost 
any desert, or the sand-lizard 
that haunts the most arid 

As we struck a lower level 
the limestone cliffs on either 
side got gradually less marked, 
till eventually we were out on 
to the lowest part of the break 
in the plateau, and here we 
struck hard clay pans as level 
as billiard - tables, where the 
water from the high ground 
collects in the winter. Here 
in the pans there were various 
shrubs some eight or nine feet 
high, flowers of several species, 
and some patches of fine gazelle 


By Light Car to Mt. Ixkander. 


grass. The grass pointed to 
the faot that gazelle might 
be discovered, and on topping 
the next rise we saw in another 
pass a pair of blaok curved 
horns. The gazelle himself 
was quite invisible, owing to 
the marvellous way his colour 
matched the hard clay. 

A gazelle makes a very tasty 
meal, and running the oars up 
to within 200 yards we grabbed 
our rifles and dismounted. Up 
till the stopping of the oars 
the gazelle had watched us 
in amazement, but on seeing 
human beings walking about 
he set off at a jerky trot. 
According to custom, we 
"baaed" sheep-fashion lustily, 
and the gazelle at once stopped 
and gave us the opportunity 
of a broadside shot. Un- 
fortunately, we one and all 
had the desire to get the first 
round off, with the result that 
instead of carefully aimed shots 
when we had the opportunity 
of hitting him, a ragged volley 
was poured in, and like a flash 
the gazelle was off. The second 
oar let off a running shot at 
about 300 yards, and the gazelle 
stumbled, came to its knees, 
but recovered almost at once, 
and was off again, followed by 
spurts of dust from flying 
bullets some wonderfully close 
and some extraordinarily wide. 
To follow him in oars would 
have upset the speedometer 
reading, and though he was 
undoubtedly wounded, we had 
to push on. 

By this time Mt. Iskander 
was looming up ahead reason- 
ably close, and at midday we 
had accomplished our object, 
and the oars were drawn up in 

line under the mountain itself. 
The trip had not been accom- 
plished without difficulty, for 
there had been hours spent in 
pushing oars through miles of 
powdered limestone, hard work 
in terrific heat hauling them 
up ascents, and runs made over 
ground that resembled slag- 
heaps, where the engine was 
kept in bottom gear, and the 
water boiled furiously in the 
radiator, thereby making great 
inroads in our store of petrol 
and water, both of which were 
equally valuable. 

After lunch we climbed up 
the mountain and found it to 
be in three stages. The first 
consisted of a narrow plateau 
some 200 yards wide, about 
150 feet above the level of the 
Wadi. Then came a steep 
slope, some 300 feet high, of 
loose limestone powder, in 
which were embedded large 
lumps of rotten rook, in many 
oases completely hollowed by 
wind and weather. At the top 
of this slope was a plateau of 
hard rook some 100 acres in 
extent, and at the north-east 
and south-east corners two 
pinnacles about 150 feet high, 
the south-eastern one being 
the true top of the mountain. 
We did not realise this till 
we had climbed to the nor- 
therly, and had to descend, 
cross the plateau, and climb 
the other. 

The view from the top was 
not prepossessing, for to the 
east we looked out over a tract 
of country that was, if any- 
thing, harsher and more for- 
bidding than that we had 
already traversed. To the 
north-east could be seen two 


By Light Car to Mt. Iskander. 


mountains, the North Gazalat 
and the South Gazalat, and to 
the south-east a sugar-loaf peak 
called Kheima, which is Arabic 
for a tent. The ground to the 
eastward gradually rose first 
in a sort of downs of limestone, 
and then in cliffs and escarp- 
ments to a high level once 
more, and it was our task on 
the morrow to find a way up 
to the high ground. 

As we were coming down, a 
black bird not a crow, but a 
raven rose at the edge of the 
plateau and flew away in a 
south - westerly direction to- 
wards Siwa. This was rather 
a quaint coincidence; and one 
could not help wondering, con- 
sidering it was the only bird 
we had seen for the last forty 
miles, if it could possibly be a 
direct descendant of the bird 
that Alexander the Great had 
seen. Havens or their off- 
spring have been known to 
occupy the same nesting 
haunt for 200 years, so why 
not for 2000? Looking over 
the edge of the cliff, we found 
the nest with two eggs in it. 
The nest, which was of huge 
dimensions, was made of pieces 
of scrub, and, judging by its 
size, was at any rate quite 
200 years old. 

That afternoon was spent in 
working out our position and 
reconnoitring the country near 
by. Mt. Iskander was cor- 
rectly placed on the map, 
which was the primary object 
of our patrol; but we dis- 
covered little of interest in 
the vicinity beyond the fact 
that nothing had passed that 
way for years. There were 
no tracks or traces of camels, 

no human footprints, and, ex- 
cept for the solitary raven 
and a very small grey desert 
insect of the Praying Mantis 
variety, not a trace of life 
of any kind, 

Iskander itself is quite im- 
posing from below, and, like 
most mountains with two or 
more peaks, appeared to be 
one solid block with a flat 
top. When the sun dropped 
to the horizon it threw a huge 
purple shadow across miles of 
desert; and in fact the whole 
of the country was wonder- 
fully beautiful in the failing 
light the far peaks standing 
out white against a pale 
mauve sky; while Iskander, a 
chequer-board of shadows and 
high lights, of purples, blues, 
yellows, and white, was clear- 
cut against the faint daffodil 
glow of the western horizon. 

The rest of the trip was a 
failure; for we failed to get 
through to Qattara, failed to 
find a way to the Qattara 
road, and almost failed to 
get anywhere. The country 
to the east, south - east, and 
north - east was of the worst 
possible description, and quite 
out of the question for oars. 
But eventually we struck an 
old Masrab, and following it 
to the north through horrible 
going, won through, after a 
most strenuous time, to the 
Dabaa road by Bir Khalda 
a Roman cistern, of which 
there are many on the West- 
ern Desert. Practically a 
whole day was spent, in 
terrific heat, hauling the cars 
by means of ropes up a 
series of sandy passes; and 
after that a big stretch over 

1918.] By Light Car to Mt. Iskander. 77 

patches of hard limestone crust, us considerably, till we sud- 
with pools of the finest pos- denly realised they were tele- 
sible salmon-pink powder every graph poles the late Khedive's 
few yards. The cars gained telegraph to Siwa. Our 
momentum on the crust, troubles were over, and next 
and then lurched in a cloud moment we were bowling 
of powder into the patches along at a comfortable twenty- 
of soft going. Sometimes the five miles an hour on the so- 
speed carried us through; but called Dabaa-Siwa road. At 
more often the car stuck and 4 P.M. that evening we saw 
had to be hauled out, and so to the south the pure white 
the day dragged on with the sand-dunes of the coast at 
cars badly shaken, the men Matruh, and glistening in the 
absolutely worn out, and the distance behind them the deep- 
stock of water and petrol blue of the Mediterranean. A 
perilously low. deliciously cool sea breeze blew 
Then gradually the going directly in our faces, and, with 
improved, and on the fourth the prospect of water and clean 
day we discerned on the clothes before us, the trials 
horizon small black specks at and hardships at Mt. Iskander 
equal distances which puzzled were soon forgotten. 





" What is known in India as the Ghadr movement was at the root of the . . . 
conspiracy. That movement has for its object the overthrow of the British 
Government in India by violent means." London Daily Paper, Feb. 12, 1917. 

"ANYTHING new in the 
Eeuters to - night ? " asked 
Captain Jennings as he sipped 
an iced vermuth under the 
snowy punkahs of the Native 
Cavalry Mess. 

"Nothing worth writing 
home about," replied his sub- 
altern, loosening the starched 
collar of his white mess jacket 
as he spoke. "Usual sort of 
rot, * steady progress was made 
on the right' somewhere in 
France. Minor push in Mess- 
pot, and half a dozen tramp 
steamers done in; I say, it's 
about the frozen limit, sitting 
here doing nothing in a stink- 
ing oven like Sepahipore, when 
at home every civilian's in 
khaki gettin' D.S.O.'s and 

The grievance was an old 
one, and because, at the end 
of an Indian June, nobody 
takes the slightest interest in 
the troubles of their fellow- 
men, the Captain vouchsafed 
no reply, but settled himself 
down to the advertisement 
column of the * Pioneer.' 
" Bay Australian Gelding," he 
read out mechanically, "six- 
teen hands, staunch after pig, 
trained charger, carries a 
lady " 

" And waits at table," inter- 
rupted his subaltern cynically. 
" I know the breed, India's full 

of 'em ; owner only sellin' as 
an act of public philanthropy 
two thousand rupees, with 
the syce thrown in ! Pooh ! 
but it's hot ! Here, Mohamed, 
bring me a peg ! " 

He flung himself listlessly 
upon the green leather sofa 
and stared critically at the 
shape of his faultless white 
mess overalls, so tightly 
strapped under his well -cut 
Wellington boots. "By the 
way, Jennings," he remarked 
suddenly, "what d'you think 
of that new squadron clerk of 
ours ? " 

"Why d'you ask?" replied 
the Captain, glancing up from 
his newspaper. 

"Well, he strikes me as 
being a bit too well educated 
for an ordinary squadron babu. 
Why the deuce does he come 
to the regiment when he might 
easily get a billet in the Civil 
on twice the pay ? Doesn't it 
strike you as being a bit fishy ? 
One's got to be on the look-out 
for rotters nowadays after that 
Lahore conspiracy case." 

The Captain yawned. "I 
wish to goodness you'd keep 
off that bally sedition mania 
of yours, Dicky. You see an 
anarchist in every punka coolie 
nowadays, and it gets a bit 
monotonous in the hot weather. 
What about that wretched 

1918.] The Weevils. 

khitmatgar of yours you had 
up before the D.C. 1 a month 
ago?" and he smiled malici- 

Dicky Magniao flushed guilt- 
ily under his warm tan at this 
humiliating recollection, and 
flung the sofa cushion at his 
Squadron Commander's head. 
"Nobody can be right every 
ruddy time," he objected, as, 
ducking, he avoided the swiftly 
returned missile ; " but it's 
always just as well to be on 
the safe side, particularly in 

"And so let the men think 
you distrust them? That's 
asking for trouble with the 
wily Oriental." 

"I'm not worrying about 
the men at present," replied 
young Magniao stubbornly, 
"but about the bally swine 
who get gassing rot to them ; 
and as a matter of fact I've 
noticed this particular Bengali 
babu messing around the Sikh 
squadrons for the last month 
rather more than seemed 

"I think you can safely 
leave the politics of the Sikh 
squadrons in the hands of old 
Eisaldar Major Pahl Singh," 
said his Squadron Leader; 
"you don't doubt his loyalty, 
do you?" 

" Lord, no! but he's getting 
old and easy-going, and I don't 
believe he knows half of what 
goes on nowadays among his 
own people." 

"You'd better not say that 
to the old boy himself ! " 
laughed the Captain. "He's 
no respecter of persons until 


they've been in the regiment 
about twenty years. Even I, 
with ten years' service, am a 
mere boy from his point of 
view, and you at twenty-two 
he probably regards as a sort 
of regimental mascot!" 

Dicky Magniao smiled good- 
temperedly . " That's just what 
I complain of in our show," he 
said. "Everybody in India is 
considered an irresponsible kid 
until he's too old to be any 
bally use. I've a good mind 
to go to the K.A.R,. 2 Africa's 
a young man's country." 

"Out of the mouths of babes," 
&o., quoted the Colonel as he 
entered the mess, mopping his 
prickly heat - tortured brow. 
"Has Dicky found another 
anarchist ? Who is it this 
time? My wife's ayah? Why 
the blazes is the mess trumpet 
late ? Oh I there it goes. 
Where are the others ? Come 
along ! It's going to be a real 
scorcher to-night." And he 
clanked into the dining-room 
and seated himself in front of 
the revolving therm antidote. 

In appearance Lieut, the 
Hon. Richard Magniac to 
give him the full style of 
address so dear to the official 
Anglo -Indian mind was a 
typical Indian cavalry sub- 
altern of the variety that the 
peculiar conditions of this 
Service have evolved during 
the last hundred years, until 
it exists to - day as some- 
thing unique in our Imperial 
system. Fair, slim, and sun- 
burned, with an easy careless 
carriage that had lost the 
irksome stiffness of former 

Deputy Commissioner. 

2 King's African Rifles. 


The Weevils. 


Sandhurst drill instructors, a 
light weight on a horse, with 
even lighter hands, an im- 
maculate figure upon parade 
in the tight green turban, 
the loose grey robe, and the 
dull gleaming riding - boots 
of his picturesque native uni- 
form, he stood wholly repre- 
sentative of the spirit of his 
Service, which resents sergeant- 
ma jorism, deems polo and pig- 
sticking the only way of 
gentlemanly salvation, and 
which yearns devoutly to pit 
its light lances and handy 
little horses against the 
heavier but slower manoeuvr- 
ing Continental cavalry, even 
as the Saracens were formerly 
pitted against the Crusaders. 
It would be an entirely un- 
just criticism to say that the 
Indian Army officer is un- 
imaginative concerning, or 
uninfluenced by, the Eastern 
environment in which his lot 
is oast; but in nine cases out 
of ten his too intimate con- 
nection with the daily drudgery 
of an Asiatic career has de- 
stroyed his youthful awe for 
"the mysterious East" of the 
globe-trotter and novelist, un- 
til India has become, for him 
at least, no longer mysterious 
but frankly prosaic. 

We said in nine oases out 
of ten as regards the men 
who lost their belief in the 
romance of the East ; but 
Dicky Magniao was the tenth, 
and, undeterred by good- 
natured ridicule on the part 
of Captain Jennings, he stuck 
to his guns, and maintained 
his rather logical belief that 
the Englishman would never 
appreciate India until, daring 

greatly, he should occasionally 
leave the charmed circle of 
commonplace Anglo - Indian 
life and plunge into the re- 
motest corners of native city 
and jungle. In all this he 
was strongly encouraged by 
one Major Berkelaye, who for 
the time being was seconded 
from the regiment for staff 
employment in France. But, 
then, Berkelaye was one of 
those impossible individuals 
who spend half their leave 
messing around every Eastern 
caravanserai that they can 
find between Agra and 
Teheran, simply because they 
really enjoy such unholy 

Whether such students of 
Asiatic life and character are 
wise or foolish in their 
disreputably unconventional 
modus operandi is a matter 
of opinion; but, for the pur- 
poses of this narrative, it is 
enough to say that Dicky 
Magniao knew far more of 
certain aspects of the com- 
plex vie intime of an Oriental 
squadron than most subalterns 
of his age and service. 

The officers in mess finished 
their dinner and adjourned to 
the ante -room. A rubber of 
auction bridge was arranged, 
and two energetic mortals be- 
gan to knock the billiard-balls 
about, albeit the relentless 
thermometer reminded them 
that it was over 105 Fahren- 
heit even inside the artificially 
cooled mess -house; and this 
at half-past ten at night. 

Dicky smoked a cheroot, 
and, having exhausted the 
humour of the * Winning 
Post' and the art of 'La Vie 


The Weevils. 


Parisienne,' bade the senior 
officer present an ironio 
" Good - night," and strolled 
out into the lonely moonlit 
mess compound. 

The noisy Indian crickets 
shrilled through the merciless 
heat, a jackal wailed from a 
patch of ragged crops near 
the road, and a snake rustled 
warily through some dead 
leaves at his feet. 

He entered the bachelors' 
quarters at the back of the 
mess -house, commonly known 
in the elegant argot of the 
cantonment as the "Dogs' 
Home," and, after rousing 
the slumbering punka - coolie, 
seated himself in front of his 
ugly roll-top desk and reached 
for a Persian grammar, a copy 
of Omar's immortal ' Kubaiyat,' 
and an American copy-book. 
Then, lighting a cigarette, he 
proceeded to translate the 
delicately cynical philosophy of 
the ancient East into literal 
modern and rather clumsy 
English. "Far as I can 
make out, Fitzgerald's trans- 
lation seems a bit free," he 
muttered grimly to himself. 
" Can't see anything about 
*a loaf of bread and thou.' 
The actual Persian seems to 
indicate ' a thigh - bone of 
mutton and thou ' ! Bit of 
realist, old Omar, if I'm 
correct! I'll ask the Munshi 

" The stars are setting, and the cara- 

Starts for the Dawn of Nothing. Oh, 
make haste J " 

he quoted thoughtfully. "That's 

damned good if you really come 

to think of it, and then people 


say the East doesn't under- 
stand sarcasm ! Hullo ! what's 
up, Pinoher ? " for his English 
fox-terrier stood bristling all 
over with some canine emotion 
that was not altogether anger. 

Gur-r-r-h, began Pincher 
truculently, and then, with a 
howl, he bolted incontinently 
under his master's bed. At 
the same moment the punka- 
coolie dropped the punka rope 
noiselessly, and disappeared 
into the silent darkness. 

The unseen cause of all this 
discomfiture refusing to reveal 
itself, Dicky did the only thing 
possible in India under such cir- 
cumstances, and called loudly 
for his head servant. But out- 
side silence reigned supreme; 
no bubbling kettles upon their 
gipsy fires, no chattering native 
children, and worst of all, no 
respectable Mohamed Din, most 
resourceful of mortals. 

" Bearer ! " he shouted again 
and yet again. " Come hither, 
O shameless one ! Your master 
awaits you ; are you a king that 
you tarry thus ? " 

Again Pinoher howled a 
dreary kind of banshee howl 
that is not comforting in the 
lonely gloom of a deserted 
bungalow in devil-ridden Asia. 
" Shut up, you brute ! " cried 
Dicky. "What in the name 
of Allah's up ? " 

Then, suddenly, out of the 
hot furnace of the shimmering 
Indian night, arose a stout 
shadowy figure in an attitude 
of abject apology. "My lord 
called and I was not," it said 
tearfully, " and great is my 
shame and my error. For- 
give me, Cherisher of the 
Poor, but I was frightened ; 


The Weevils. 


I am only a poor man with 
very many children." 

"Are you drunk?" asked 
Dioky prosaically, for the 
old servant was ashy grey 
and trembling from head to 

"No,- sahib," replied Mo- 
hamed Din piteously. " I am, 
as you know, a follower of the 
Prophet who abstained from 

"Then why all this upset? 
The dog is frightened, the 
punka-ooolie is frightened, and 
now you are frightened ! " 

"Even the dog was fright- 
ened, sahib?" 


If Mohamed Din had been 
a Catholic, he would have 
crossed himself. Being a 
devout Mussulman, he merely 
shivered. " No Djinn an 
injure a true believer," he re- 
marked unoonvinoingly, "but 
this house is the abode of 
Christians!" And then, re- 
gardless of all domestic eti- 
quette, he sat down heavily 
upon the floor, although his 
master was still standing. 

" Is all the world mad to- 
night?" asked Dioky angrily. 

"No, huzoor; but if I tell 
you the truth concerning my 
terror, you, as a sahib, will 
never believe me." 

" Why not ? " 

"Because the Sahib Log, 
being so clever with their 
rel trains, their sailless ships, 
and their air carriages, have 
forgotten that aught lives 
upon Allah's earth save only 
water, oil, and iron, or such- 
like creatures." 

Dioky shied off the inevit- 
able theological controversy on 

Western Materialism, so dear 
to the Moslem mind. "What 
do you mean exactly ? " he 
asked crisply. 

" This, sahib. Have you 
forgotten that here in this 
bungalow, some sixty years 
ago, lived three young sahibs 
such as you, save only that 
they were of the Infantry?" 

" Well, what about them ? " 

" All were slain by their own 
Sepoys, sahib, in the bad old 
days before Delhi fell." 

"I know that as well as you 
do, but what has it got to do 
with all this row?" 

"This only, huzoor nay, do 
not smile that young Erring- 
ton Sahib, the Adjutant, was 
slain in this very room, pistol 
in hand, his back against that 
cupboard ; and ever since that 
night, when evil is in the wind, 
he comes to warn all other 
Sahibs to be ready even as he 
was not." 

"Cheery sort of yarn to 
hear at midnight," soliloquised 
Dioky to himself. Aloud he 
added: "Then, did he come 

"Even so, sahib, he breathed 
upon the dog, he struck the 
punka-ooolie for ever since 
then he has hated all of us 
black men and me he saw. 
Hence my flight!" 

"And you really believe 
all this balderdash, Mohamed 

The old servant pulled him- 
self together indignantly. " Of 
what use to speak to Sahibs of 
what is real?" he cried ironic- 
ally. "When I lie about the 
loss of the Presence's shirts or 
under - vests, I am believed, 
but when I tell the truth 


The Weevils. 


about Errington Sahib, I am 

Dicky looked at him more 
kindly. "Never mind," he 
said, laughing. "I daresay 
your Sahib is almost as big a 
fool as you think him yourself ! 
But now thus ordain matters 
that the punka-ooolie returns, 
for it is hot, and I would sleep 
before dawn." 

Mohamed Din hobbled across 
the compound to do his bidding. 
"Now always excepting our 
Colonel Sahib," he grumbled 
piously to himself, "also the 
other officers of this Risala and 
the English Magistrate at 
Umballa, who, twelve years 
ago, gave judgment against 
mine enemy, may God's curse 
rest eternally upon all infidels, 
for who, save Satan, can fathom 
the depths of their unbelief ! " 

A question that is often put 
to the sorely-tried Anglo-Indian 
official when he spends his 
hardly-earned leave among his 
English cousins is : " Could 
there ever be another Indian 
Mutiny?" This form of in- 
quiry is exactly upon a par 
with other abstract generalis- 
ations, such as : " Is Europe 
musical?" or "Does poultry 
farming pay?" The armies 
of India both those directly 
under the Crown and those 
that are raised by the Great 
Feudatory Princes of the land 
form a cosmopolitan host of 
Asiatic soldiery, differing in 
race, religion, language, and 
character. For the most part 
they are primitive individuals, 
feudal in mind, contemptuous 
of Western innovations, sus- 
picious of all change, and in- 

tensely sensitive where their 
honour, creed, or dignity is con- 
cerned ; devotedly loyal to any 
personality or cause that grips 
their imagination, they are also 
credulous and ignorant, and to 
exploit such soldierly simplicity 
for his own purpose, has been 
the eternal hope of every 
political agitator both before 
and after '57. 

All this and much more 
was known to the tatterde- 
malion on the edge of the 
Grand Trunk Road. His foul 
matted beard, his long wine- 
coloured hair, his steady pas- 
sionless eyes, and his ragged 
salmon-coloured habit, all alike 
proclaimed him a religious 
mystic such as the occult phil- 
osophy of Ancient Hinduism 
has encouraged for the last 
three thousand years. He was 
accompanied by a chela or dis- 
ciple, a rather cheeky-looking 
Hindu boy of ten, who, as yet, 
showed no sign oJ mystical 
propensities, but who conversely 
clutched feverishly at an almost 
indecently big begging bowl 
that should merely have been 
the modest symbol of a volun- 
tary poverty. 

We have said that this Hindu 
fakir knew of all the idiosyn- 
crasies of the Sepoy army 
and of the hundred cross cur- 
rents that eddy and swirl 
around the rook of its loyalty, 
for he had been a soldier him- 
self before seeking the Path 
that leads to the High Con- 

At the moment of introduc- 
ing him to the reader he was 
sitting like some graven image 
under the shade of a huge 
mango grove that flanked the 


The Weevils. 


King's highway, lost in a medi- 
tation of High Indifference to 
the tedious exactions of life. 
His sympathetic chela was lay- 
ing out a hurdle-course of twigs 
for two grasshoppers which he 
intended to race against each 
other, and in the distance the 
gardens, minarets, and canton- 
ments of Sepahipore lay like 
the scenery of a theatre curtain 
under the pearly mists of the 
fiery Indian sunset. An ox- 
waggon creaked sleepily past 
the seekers after knowledge; 
a sacred monkey crept close to 
the fakir's bosom, in its pathetic 
quest for human sympathy; 
and finally, young Sodager 
Singh, Sikh trumpeter of the 
Forty-Fourth Indian Lancers, 
came riding by in all his youth- 
ful martial glory. 

At the sight of the religieux 
he reined back his fretting 
country-bred mare, and asking 
for a blessing at his hands, 
threw a small silver coin to 
the business-like chela, who be- 
lieved firmly in the maxim of 
the labourer being worthy of 
his hire. 

The fakir, in his professional 
capacity, adjured destiny to be 
kind to the youth's future, and 
then, noting his regimental 
badge, turned suddenly upon 
him. "You are in the 44th 
Risala ? " he asked incuriously. 

"Yes, my father and my 
mother ! " 

" A good regiment the best 
in Hindustan ? " 

" Without doubt : our Colonel 
Sahib is the best polo-player in 
the world, and my Squadron 
Commander has shot forty-eight 

tiger. The rest of our Sahibs 
are laughter-loving, of good 
report in their own land, 
and never over-harsh to the 
necessary indiscretions of a 
smart young Sikh, provided 
he knows his trumpet-calls at 
the gallop, takes his tent peg 
thrice out of four runs, and 
abstains from the tobacco and 
the razor that our Durbar 
forbids " 

"Then you like your regi- 

"Why not? My Squadron 

Commander, who is named 

"Peace be with thy Squad- 
ron Commander," interrupted 
the fakir patiently ; " we have 
now spoken together of trifles, 
but what of the new babu in 
"C" Squadron?" 

" My own Squadron ! By 
the Granth- Sahib, 1 you have 
the hidden knowledge!" and 
the youth shivered supersti- 
tiously as he dug his small, 
sharply spurred boot - heel 
against the wincing flank of 
the sweating chestnut mare. 
"What do I know of babus?" 
he asked sullenly, " I who am 
a soldier?" 

" And also it would seem 
a fool!" 

" Forgive me, Holiest ! I 
am but a simple horse-breeder 
from Tarn Taran." 

" Now you speak truth ! " 

"Why not to such as thee! 
Peace! indifferent seed of a 
donkey stallion" this to his 
indignant charger "I dis- 
mount ! " 

He leaped nimbly to the 
ground, and, handing his reins 

Granth-SahibThe Sikh Bible. 

1918.] The Weevils. 

to the chela, seated himself 
ingenuously in the dust at the 
mystic's feet. Then he thrust 
the bamboo shaft of his slender 
lanoe under his left armpit, 
and threw himself into one of 
those graceful, easy postures 
that come so naturally to the 
dignified yet careless Oriental. 

"You know, then, of this 
babu, whom men call Anath 
Bhose, O Solver of Secrets?" 

"Even so, trumpeter; do 
you like him?" 

"I like a babu! God for- 
bid! but he is useful to those 
whose purse is empty." 

" What does he give you ? " 

"Many things a padded 
quilt and the quinine medicine 
against the malaria, good rum 
and opium when the belly 
aches, but mostly rum and 
sweetmeats and talk." 

"Hail talk?" 

"Aye, for ever he talks like 
all Bengalis and other fish- 
eaters. Talking and writing 
are, I verily believe, to a Ben- 
gali what war and love are to 
a Sikh ! " 

"And of what does he talk?" 

"Of men and gods and 
changes, and visions, and the 
follies of the Kaj." 

"And you listen?" 

"Aye, for good rum is not 
cheap in war time, and do not 
the follies of the Raj always 
compel the wonder of those 
who are not smitten by the 
same madness as the English?" 

"What dost thou know of 
the English, O mere horse- 

" Naught, save that I swore 
upon enlistment to fight for 


one Garge Padishah 1 this side 
of the water or across it. And 
by God ! he seems to have 
many enemies ! Are we not 
for ever fighting his battles 
from Tirah to France, and 
from the land of the Somalis 
to that of the Chinese?" 

"Has Anath Bhose said 
aught against the English 
Padishah ? " interrupted the 

The young trumpeterdropped 
his sleepy, almond-shaped eyes 
in self-defence against the keen 
piercing glance of the mystic. 
He was no fool, despite his ap- 
parent buoolism, and had seen 
from the first the drift of the 
fakir's conversation. Hence his 
pose as a rustic simpleton. 

"I have heard of such evil 
follies from my grandfather, 
the Risaldar," he replied mean- 
ingly ; " but we of Tarn Taran 
have never been disloyal to our 

" Take heed that you never 
are," replied the fakir sternly, 
"and watch Anath Bhose, for 
by that path lieth honour and 
promotion. You understand ? " 

" Without doubt. Opium 
and rum may be rare in war 
time, but am I a child or an 
Infantry mud-foot to be bribed 
or deceived ? At seventeen we 
of the Cavalry have wedded 
our woman and broken our 
horse, or, as some say of the 
Cavalry, wedded our horse and 
broken our woman else a fool." 

" You speak discreetly," said 
the fakir, rising, "and if rum 
and opium are rare in times of 
trouble, more rare are loyalty 
and love ! All and each are 

1 King George V. 


The Weevils. 


more oommon in years of fat- 
ness. Be vigilant and be hon- 
ourable as befits your youth 
and your breeding, and now, 
farewell, little husband of the 
horse ! " 

"Farewell, little prattler of 
your honour ! " cried the small, 
mimicking chela viciously, " and 
here, take back your two- anna 
bit ; it's a bad one ! " 

"Hush, Buddhoo," said the 
fakir reproachfully. " Discour- 
tesy does not help us in our 
Search after Reality. Like 
other things, it is Folly and 
Illusion. Rise, clasp my hand, 
and come." 

"One thing I forgot," jerked 
the trumpeter, as, with his left 
foot in the stirrup, he hopped 
madly upon the right in a 
frantic endeavour to mount 
the big dancing mare "one 
thing only, and that is ... 
Great Wisdom, Great Cunning, 
and Great Folly meet daily to- 
gether at the Monkey Temple 
about the hour of the evening 
meal ; so look you to it, for the 
guardian of that shrine is our 
friend." With which esoteric 
remark he scrambled into the 
saddle and trotted away. 


It was the hour of the even- 
ing parade, when the little 
dust-devils were swirling down 
the unwatered roads of the can- 
tonment, that Dicky Magniao 
came galloping across the Cav- 
alry parade-ground on his big 
bay charger. He pulled the 
mare up upon her hind quarters, 
and proceeded to inspect two 
squadrons which were drawn 
up for an informal tent-pegging 
parade. They were a fine 
manly lot, deep-chested Sikhs 

from the land of the five rivers ; 
slim and more delicately- 
featured Afridi mountaineers, 
with the light-blue eyes, pale 
faces, and the faded golden 
hair that some say is an in- 
heritance of the old Greek 
invasion ; Dogras, small and 
insignificant -looking, but the 
hardest fighters in a tight 
corner that the whole of 
Asia possesses ; and Hindu- 
stani Mussulmen, wiry and well- 
bred. The glow of the Indian 
sunshine lit up their grave 
bronzed faces, jade-green tur- 
bans, and flashing steel lance- 
points in a dusty glory of 
golden splendour. They might 
have passed for a bas-relief 
tablet symbolical of India mili- 
tant, but only a French sculp- 
tor could have done justice to 
the subject. All of them were 
men of position in their own 
districts, who for the honour 
of serving in the National 
Cavalry had, according to cus- 
tom, advanced the necessary 
money not only for the pur- 
chase of their own chargers, 
but also for their equipment, 
their saddlery, and their uni- 
forms as well. For the Silla- 
dar system, as it is still called 
in India, is a survival of those 
old feudal days when the cav- 
alryman was a knight rather 
than a trooper, and one who 
rallied round his overlord with 
his own gear, repaying himself 
with the spoils of victory. 
Surveying them with the many 
coloured medal ribbons that 
decorated their breasts, and 
which had been won on many 
an arduous campaign between 
Chitral and China, it seemed 
almost incredible that such 


The Weevils. 


professional veterans, who had 
thus already willingly given 
their all to the British Raj, 
oould ever falter in their al- 
legiance to it ; and as he called 
the squadrons to attention, 
and as a hundred blue-and- 
white lance pennons flew up- 
ward at his command, even 
Dicky Magniao, the sceptical, 
felt suddenly ashamed of his 
own quite vague suspicions of 
impending trouble in their 
midst. A Sikh officer, named 
Jemedar Bhagget Singh, can- 
tered up to him, and, after 
the usual salute, informed him 
of the number of men present. 

"Only one hundred and 
seventy-two lances out of two 
hundred ' and fifty ? " asked 
Dicky, in surprise. " Where 
are the rest?" 

" On guard, sahib, at fatigue, 
or sick." 

"Oh, hang it, Jemedar 
Sahib, they can't all be siok ! " 

The Indian officer shrugged 
his shoulders a trifle imperti- 
nently. "Does the Lieutenant 
Sahib doubt my word ? " 

Dicky looked at him curi- 
ously, for sulkiness is a rare 
characteristic of the Indian 
officer. " Of course not," he 
replied politely, " but after 
parade I will speak with you 
again about this matter. Now 
carry on." 

He rode down the motion- 
less ranks until he reached 
the eleventh file, and then he 
nearly exploded with wrath. 
The Sikh, for certain reasons 
connected with his youthful 
vows, must never shave nor 
out his hair. In the Army the 
beard is parted and brushed 
back over the ears in a con- 

ventional manner that makes 
for imposing smartness, and 
the scalp hair tied neatly in 
a knot under the concealing 
turban remains invisible. The 
eleventh trooper, however, sat 
his horse with impudent un- 
concern, a hirsute monster of 
long straggling beard and con- 
spicuously dishevelled locks. 

"What the blazing inferno 
is this ? " cried Dicky furiously, 
because he knew full well such 
an apparition stood for delib- 
erate impertinence as well as 
for military untidiness. 

"He is, indeed, a sloven," 
replied the young Jemedar 

"A sloven ! " shouted Dicky. 
"A sloven! of all the blasted 
cheek " he paused suddenly. 
The East was here obviously 
attempting to make him lose 
his temper, and the East must 
therefore be disappointed. 
"He is a dirty wild beast," 
he said more calmly, "so put 
him in the Guard-room like a 
jungle animal in a cage." 

"Sahib," interrupted the 
object of his criticisms with 
an insolent leer, " I have 
taken a vow at the shrine of 
a national saint never again to 
bind my beard in army fashion. 
Must I, therefore, suffer for 
my religion?" 

" Certainly not," replied 
Dicky grimly "at least, not 
if the saint of your trust deals 
with you as justly as the regi- 
ment that you shall leave to- 
morrow ! " 

"Shall I leave without my 
pension ? " 

"No, with it; the British 
Raj is not a Hindu shroff 1 " 

"But " 


The Weevils. 


"Hold thy peaoe, insolent 
underbred ! And now to the 
Guard-room ! " 

"Hello! what's all this?" 
asked Captain Jennings, who 
had ridden up unobserved. 
"Putting old Lai Singh in the 
Guard - room, Dioky ? Isn't 
that a bit drastic? He's a 
good old soldier though I've 
never been able to promote 

"Look at his beard!" re- 
plied Dioky curtly. 

" By Jove, yes ! What a lazy 
old devil! Still, since he's got 
a clean defaulter sheet for 
nearly eighteen years, you'd 
better give him a chance this 
time. What about three days' 

Dioky inwardly cursed his 
senior's obtuseness. Appar- 
ently all that Jennings saw in 
the electrical atmosphere was 
a dirty but worthy old soldier 
about to be sacrificed to the 
offioiousness of an over-zealous 
young officer. Didn't he real- 
ise that the whole episode was 
pregnant with some deeper 
significance? Did he know 
nothing of the subtlety of 
Oriental insult? 

" I beg your pardon, sir," he 
said stiffly, " but there is some- 
thing behind the whole in- 
cident that I should like to 
discuss with you later, and, in 
the meantime, I would ask 
your permission to confine this 

Captain Jennings smiled 
good-naturedly. " Biding your 
sedition hobby again, Magniao ? 
I don't want to interfere with 
you on parade, but I wish you 
wouldn't confine Lai Singh. 
Please, don't." 

"As you like, sir," replied 
Dicky despairingly, "but if 
you won't let me, I must ask 
for a transfer to another regi- 

Captain Jennings flushed 
slightly at his subaltern's ex- 
traordinary persistence, which 
seemed to him singularly un- 
gracious. "Do exactly what 
you like," he replied coldly, 
"and report your reasons 
afterwards." And then he 
rode away. 

The men, although not un- 
derstanding three words of 
English, had not been slow to 
grasp the general trend of 
the conversation, and awaited 
Dicky's final orders with eyes 
that gleamed with interest. 

" What of Lai Singh, sahib ? " 
asked the native officer with 
scarcely-disguised malice. "Am 
I to confine him in the Quarter 
Guard or not ? " 

" How many more times am 
I to give you your orders ? " 
snapped Dioky sternly. "Are 
you an officer or an old woman 
that you talk instead of act? 
Confine Lai Singh at once; 
leave the parade yourself ; and 
report at my bungalow at 
noon to-morrow. ' A ' and ' C ' 
Squadrons / advance by sections 
from the right t Walk march I 
What the hell's that man 
fiddling with his stirrup-leather 
for ? Sit up, and for God's sake 
remember you're in the Kathi- 
awar Cavalry and not in some 
forsaken footsloggers ! Get a 
move on trot! steady on the 
right there. Fo'orm Line ! rear 

The two squadrons thus 
lashed out of their immediate 
curiosity by Dicky's angry 


The Weevils. 


tongue, were roughly drilled 
as a moral tonio for half 
an hour until their subaltern 
considered them ready for the 
excitement of tent - pegging 

This parade over, and the 
bets on the number of pegs 
taken or missed lost and 
won, Dicky dismissed the men 
sharply and looked around to 
exchange his blown and sweat- 
ing charger for a fresh polo 
pony. His syce had disap- 
peared, but his small grey Arab 
gelding stood nuzzling the 
sleeve of Trumpeter Sodager 
Singh, who seemed to have 
appeared from nowhere in 
particular. He held Dicky's 
stirrup-iron in much the same 
way as a medieval Norman 
squire was wont to hold the 
stirrup of his knight, and, 
feudal fashion, flicked the light 
moisture from his subaltern's 
tall foam-flecked riding-boots. 

"Thanks, Sodager Singh," 
said Dicky, gathering up his 
reins, and throwing away his 
lance. " Kighto ! let him go ! " 

" I have something to say," 
said the trumpeter, still hold- 
ing the impatient pony by the 
bridle. "Is it permitted to 
speak to the Sahib ? " 

"Of course, why not?" re- 
plied Dicky. 

" The Bengali jackal smitten 
by dangerous madness may yet 
infect the Lion of the Punjaub 
with the same disease," whis- 
pered the young Sikh, bending 
low by the Arab's off shoulder 
and pretending to tighten his 
subaltern's girths. 

"Meaning ? ' ' suggested Dicky, 

"That Lai Singh's beard 

was but a trial of the Sahib's 
strength, and Bhagget Singh 
Jemadar and Anath Bhose, the 
babu, are both traitors ! " 

Dicky whistled softly and 
caressed his polo pony's plaited 
mane. "We cannot speak here 
on such matters," he said 
quickly, "for, see, all observe 
us. Look you, where can we 
meet ? " 

" If no indiscretion bars my 
presence, is it permitted to 
speak alone with the Sahib in 
his buugalow in the night- 
time ? " 

" Very good, Ten o'clock to- 
night after Mesp." 

"The Sahib's slave is ready 
to suffer on the morrow for 
what was presumptuous over 
night if his words, when heard, 
shall be deemed mere folly." 

"Don't talk bally rot," re- 
plied Dicky, and then the ex- 
cited grey gelding took charge 
of him until he reached the 
club verandah and his lady- 
love of the immediate moment. 

Sodager Singh's midnight 
disclosures were more than 
even Dicky was prepared for. 
With polite, long - winded, 
Oriental circumlocution, the 
boy had just narrated his 
tangled story, and young Mag- 
niao was still sitting on his 
green canvas camp bedstead 
in a bewildered attempt to 
elucidate the salient points of 
the confused rigmarole. It 
appeared that a very holy 
fakir, who undoubtedly pos- 
sessed dark, occult powers, had 
recently formed a confiding 
friendship with a learned Brah- 
min priest, who lived in a 
Monkey Temple, with the 


The Weevils. 


common object of defeating the 
wiles of certain enemies of the 
British Government. In order 
to avert suspicion and to gain 
the confidence of such political 
malcontents, both Brahmin 
and fakir had pretended to 
identify themselves with the 
cause of the seditionists, and 
were even now offering them 
the refuge of an underground 
shrine in the Temple whenever 
they required privacy for their 
counsels. Among the conspir- 
ators were the "C" Squadron 
clerk and the Sikh Native 
Officer, who, it was alleged, 
were in the habit of secretly 
frequenting the Monkey Temple 
in each other's company almost 
daily or rather nightly. He 
also learned that the calculated 
insolence upon parade that 
afternoon for which old Lai 
Singh was heavily bribed had 
been a deliberate attempt to 
bring religious sentiment into 
unnecessary conflict with mili- 
tary discipline, in order to 
create friction between the 
Sikh soldiers and their English 
officers ; while, further, it had 
also been arranged in the light 
of a ballon d'essai to see if 
Captain Jennings suspected 
anything peculiar in the present 
temper of his squadron. 

The British officer who com- 
mands Native Troops, whether 
Indian or African, has many 
problems to solve outside his 
immediate military duties. To 
spend your whole life exagger- 
ating the importance of every 
trivial untoward incident in 
the lines or cantonment is to 
make a fool of yourself, while 
to ignore other occurrences 
that are seemingly just as 

innocent is to be criminally 
negligent. The forerunner of 
the Indian Mutiny was the 
apparently aimless circulation 
of some mysterious chapattis, 
for in the East straws fre- 
quently show the direction of 
the wind long before more 
orthodox weathercocks. Still 
smarting as he was under the 
ridicule of his Mess for his 
"sedition mania," Dicky Mag- 
niac was very naturally averse 
to inviting further laughter 
without good cause, and yet 
here some deeply -rooted in- 
stinct told him that with all 
his grotesque embroidery of 
narration the young Sikh 
trumpeter was speaking the 
truth, and that the poison of 
sedition was indeed at work 
among the Sikhs of the ^4th 
Lancers. One thing stood out 
clear and plain if Sodager 
Singh was speaking the truth 
about Bhagget Singh's alleged 
habit of consorting clandes- 
tinely with Anath Bhose, then 
the Sikh Jemedar's secret par- 
tiality for the society of his 
humble squadron clerk could 
be explained in no way that 
was reputable to his character 
as a Native Officer, but, on the 
contrary, pointed directly to 
some mystery, and very pos- 
sibly to the seditious proclivi- 
ties of which the trumpeter 
now frankly accused him. 

Dicky Magniac wished de- 
voutly that Major Berkelaye 
were here to counsel him in his 
difficulties, because the latter 
had an uncanny habit of read- 
ing the Indian mind as in a 
mirror. The memories evoked 
by the recollection of that ec- 
centric officer suddenly brought 


The Weevils. 


an unconventional idea into his 
own head. 

Sodager Singh had ended his 
complicated story by saying 
that his brother's syce had 
heard the Jemedar's orderly 
say that his master had ordered 
his charger to be brought round 
to his bungalow afc midnight, 
in order as he, the orderly, 
cynically supposed to dally 
with the fair and frail in the 
great silent eastern city. But 
here Dicky preferred to think 
the orderly's suspicions of his 
master unjust, for it seemed far 
more likely in the light of 
the trumpeter's disclosures 
that Bhagget Singh had an 
appointment of quite a different 
nature. And, if so, why not at 
the Monkey Temple of Sodager 
Singh's mention, which ap- 
peared to be a general rendez- 
vous of sedition, where it was 
more than likely that he would 
be anxious to discuss the hap- 
penings of the afternoon with 
his fellow-conspirators, if in- 
deed such characters really 
existed ? So far so good, and 
why not now go himself to the 
Monkey Temple, and hiding 
near its gates keep watch and 
ward over whoever entered or 
left it ? Impossible as it would 
be for a British officer in mess 
kit to escape curious comment 
in the native city at night, it 
would be quite feasible to avoid 
detection in the darkness if he 
wore Indian clothes and held 
his tongue. His glance here 
fell upon Sodager Singh, who 
was seated at his invitation on 
a Persian prayer-mat at his 
feet, dressed in the spotless 
white mufti that the Sikh 
soldier affects when off duty. 

" With that turban pulled half 
over my face, and with all that 
loose white kit on, nobody would 
spot me as a European," he 
reflected, and then he broached 
the matter to the trumpeter. 
The latter entered into the 
spirit of the adventure with 
alacrity, and further added the 
welcome news that he could 
guide his subaltern to a email 
whispering gallery above the 
very shrine where the conspira- 
tors were in the habit of meet- 

Dicky threw off his mess kit, 
and the highly amused Sodager 
Singh proceeded to array him 
in his own clothes, which were 
by no means a bad fit, and tied 
his turban in a rakish youthful 
fashion, that in India is a de- 
liberate assumption of mid- 
night impropriety. " Sahib," 
he whispered, his boyish eyes 
dancing with dark mischief as 
he fixed a becoming rosebud 
over Dicky's right ear, "what 
a pity you weren't born a Sikh 
and didn't live in Amritsar ! 
But look you, brother ! give me 
the peaked kullah of thy parade 
turban, and I will now tie thy 
puggri Moslem fashion, for no 
Sikh of twenty should be 
beardless as thou art ! " Ar- 
ranging the few scanty clothes 
that were left him as only a 
native of India can arrange 
something out of nothing, 
Sodager Singh then led the 
way to the Monkey Temple. 
They scrambled up a oobwebbed 
spiral staircase that led them 
to a precarious foothold under 
the fretted roof, and then gazed 
down upon the scene below. 

Anath Bhose was a pleasant- 

92 The Weevils. [Jan. 

faced and mildly be-speotaoled only by blackmail levied upon 
Bengali of middle age. In Indians and others who fear 
official life he was, as we its power, but also by the 
have already seen, a clerk in German agent, the Irish- 
a squadron office of the 44th American dynamiter, the Cal- 
Lanoers; but his unofficial life outta anarchist, and other 
was the more interesting of tail -twisters of the British 
the two. A graduate of Cam- lion. Its agents are multi- 
bridge University, an exten- farious, and its activities 
sive traveller both in Middle varied ; it is divided into 
Europe and the United States, departments that specialise in 
he spoke three European any thing from political rhetoric 
languages fluently, had speci- to high explosives, and from 
alised to some purpose in gun-running to religious con- 
inorganic chemistry, and was troversy. Its central lodge is 
deeply impregnated with the a moving tent that may be 
ideals of cosmopolitan nihil- pitched in Geneva one year 
ism. That he was content and Honolulu the next, and 
to work ten hours a day at one period, at least, a 
upon a salary of 1 per week Chinaman controlled its des- 
in a stuffy mud hut at un- tinies. 

congenial tasks connected with Between the hidden maoh- 
simple addition, multiplication, inations of such Oriental 
subtraction, and division was Machiavellis and the over- 
doubtless merely a proof of throw of the Indian Gov- 
his altruistic nature, his mod- ernment stands the simple 
esty, and his affection for shrewdness of the Indian 
the British Government. Most peasant and the oft - tested 
certainly he was a man who loyalty of the Indian Army, 
believed in hiding his light Whenever this trust or this 
under a bushel, for his loyalty is temporarily shaken 
English officers were quite by the unscrupulous ingenu- 
ignorant of his academical ity of its technically trained 
attainments, although, as we agents, then the League of 
have already seen, young the Protesting Voice has tem- 
Magniao had noticed a oer- porarily scored, and chuckles 
tain educational superiority its satisfaction from Paris 
that had roused his suspicion, to Singapore. For Captain 
Behind Anath Bhose was Jennings, Anath Bhose had 
one of the most powerful the profound contempt of the 
secret societies in Asia, and wary diplomat for the straight- 
whioh, for reference in this forward soldier; but in young 
story, we will call the League Maguiao he had instinctively 
of the Protesting Voice. This recognised a foeman more 
organisation, that has its worthy of his steel. Major 
lodges scattered over the Berkelaye's reputation as an 
greater part of the route Orientalist was already known 
from San Francisco to Poona, to him, and he mentally 
has long been financed not thanked all the Hindu gods of 


The Weevils 


the calendar in whioh he had 
ceased to believe that this too- 
well-informed officer was away 
from the regiment. As for 
the other squadron leaders, a 
newly-joined subaltern almost 
ignorant of Hindustani was 
in temporary command of 
the second Sikh squadron 
Jennings commanded the first 
and with the Mohamedans 
of the regiment the Hindu 
anarchist had no concern, since 
there was a great religious 
gulf between them. 

Anath Bhose had long since 
finished his tedious drudgery, 
and, locking up his office, he 
slipped quietly through the 
regimental lines as the Guard- 
room clock struck twelve. He 
plunged into the dark and 
intricate depths of the native 
city as one who knew every 
inch of its tortuous alleyways, 
until he reached the shadow 
of an ancient Hindu temple 
that loomed abruptly above 
the crazy tenements at its foot. 
A gloomy burrow of vaulted 
stone led downwards into the 
very womb of a dimly lit shrine 
below, where three pot-bellied 
Hindu gods, hoary with sin 
and dreadful with mystery, 
leered with bestial satisfaction 
upon all who entered to offer 
them worship. From the 
loftier chambers of the hollow 
bat-haunted dome above came 
harsh, screedy noises of temple 
conches and the monotonous 
patter of the temple girls' 
dancing feet. Outside, under 
the diamond and velvet Indian 
starlight, the harlots upon the 
darkened roof-tops stabbed the 
stifling gloom with dreary and 
professional laughter ; a pariah 

dog howled in the street hard 
by; a sacred bull snuffled its 
way into the shrine, and a 
lame monkey fled scampering 
unevenly across the cold 
marble pavement. High above 
the horrid altar itself, and 
upon the damp wall behind, 
the eye could just detect a mad 
riot of flaming frescoes that 
flickered wildly in the draughty 
candle-light. Here upon the 
dimly painted stone, obscene 
monkeys drank from silver 
goblets ; pink stallions pranced 
over crystal streams; pale 
scimitars gleamed wickedly 
amid scenes of scarlet rape; 
and all the pearls of a jade- 
green ocean were poured into 
the naked lap of a delicate 

fold -lipped god. A sheeted 
gure crawled from a deep 
recess in the massive stone 
wall, and, rising with a stifled 
yawn, it lit another native 

"Has the time yet come?" 
it asked sleepily. 

" The time approaches," 
came the brief reply ; " is 
Jemedar Bhagget Singh 

The thin hooded figure ex- 
tricated itself leisurely from its 
long grey winding-sheet, like 
some corpse discarding its 
grave -clothes for the Resur- 
rection. The dim watery flame 
of the cheap farthing lanthorn 
revealed a face that was both 
intellectual and arrogant. 
Aristocratic, ascetic, and 
grimly forbidding-looking, the 
tall Brahmin guardian of the 
shrine towered above the Ben- 
gali like an Arabian Djinn 
that had just escaped from its 


The Weevils. 


"Yes, I am here," replied 
a gruff voice from the shadow, 
and a bearded Sikh officer 
dressed in mufti revealed him- 
self. The Jemedar's demeanour 
in the presence of his squadron 
clerk formed a curious mixture 
of contempt and awe : even 
when intriguing with the 
clever anarchist he could never 
forget the Bengali babu. That 
as a Sikh soldier he conde- 
scended to identify himself 
with a seditious movement 
conceived by a despised and 
unwarlike race, was due . to 
the fact that the Bengali had 
cleverly exploited both his 
wounded pride and his racial 
cupidity of which more anon 
and also because the modern 
"progressive" policy in India 
of honouring the Anglicised 
native at the expense of his 
more conservative brother had 
long since exasperated the 
Tory, the farmer, and the 
soldier in his nature. " When 
the English begin to fawn 
upon the Bengali babu" so 
he argued scornfully, after his 
own direct primitive fashion 
" it is high time for the Khalsa 1 
to reconquer the Punjaub ! 
And since these Bengalis are 
as monkeys in cunning, why 
not use their wits until such 
time, with the English gone, as 
we can out their throats ! " 

A certain untoward incident 
that had occurred when he 
was on leave had recently in- 
creased his growing irritation. 
A thoughtless young Civil 
Servant upon whom he had 
called to pay his respects, 
and who like all his service, 

by nature of their work was 
more accustomed to the society 
of English-speaking babus and 
" progressives " in general than 
of conservative Indian gentle- 
men, had received him simul- 
taneously with a small Pun- 
jaubi pleader, entirely ignorant 
of the outraged feelings of the 
exclusive landowner at find- 
ing himself in such bourgeois 

The delicacy of the situa- 
tion had not been relieved 
by the Sub-Divisional Officer's 
linguistic limitations, which 
had compelled him to direct 
most of his conversation to 
the verbose Anglicised lawyer 
rather than to the simple 
aristocratic Sikh, and the 
ohaprassis outside had laughed 
when the Indian officer 
left the bungalow. Bhagget 
Singh had not forgotten that 
laughter. "It is true that 
their Infantry defeated ours at 
Gujerat,' ? he had muttered 
angrily as, mounting his horse, 
he had galloped away in a 
rage; "but what of Chillian- 
walla, when our Light Horse 
out their fat dragoons to 
pieces ! " His use of the words 
theirs and ours was alone sig- 
nificant. No longer was he 
the Indian officer proud of 
his Imperial commission, but, 
rather, responding to the 
primitive call of racial an- 
tagonism that had been 
kindled in his bosom by the 
gaucherie of an unintelligent 
official, he had reverted to 
type, and had ridden away 
from the scene a primitive 
Sikh chieftain, with black 

1 Khalsa Sikhdom. 


The Weevils. 


hatred in his heart for the 
new order that humbled him 
even while it sat in company 
with his grandfathers' serfs. 

Disdaining the hand that 
Anath Bhose had put forward 
for him to shake, he reseated 
himself upon the pavement of 
the shrine, and ooolly drank a 
oonoootion of rum and curdled 
milk from a gleaming brass 
lotah. The Graduate of Cam- 
bridge showed no sign that he 
had noticed this affront, but 
peered suspiciously at another 
dim figure that squatted against 
the feet of the monkey gods. 
" And who is this ? " he asked. 

"Only a poor sunny assi" 
replied the Brahmin priest, 
"who has just taken a re- 
ligious vow of complete silence 
until death." 

"That indeed is lucky for 
him I " remarked the Bengali 
dryly; "but turn him out for 
all that I take no risks." 

" I cannot refuse shelter to 
those who demand it of me," 
replied the Brahmin with de- 
termination, " else these ones " 
and he indicated the mon- 
strous idols "will be angry. 
But rest assured, I will answer 
for him with my own life. He 
lives close to the gods, and in- 
deed hears not our speech 
look ! " The fakir for once 
parted from his chela seemed 
to justify this statement, for 
his wide-open eyes were glazed 
as one who has fallen into an 
ecstatic trance. Anath Bhose 
approached him and raised an 
eyelid with his slim fore- 
finger. " Opium," he remarked 
cynically, " so let him remain ; 
and now to work." 

" That piece of play upon the 

parade - ground was cleverly 
carried out this afternoon, 
Jernedar Sahib," he continued 
in a conciliatory tone, his swift 
shrewd eyes noting Bhagget 
Singh's sulkiness. 

"And to serve what pur- 
pose?" snarled the native 
officer angrily. "A monkey 
trick that has caused my face 
to be blackened in front of 
my own squadron by a boy 
lieutenant ! " 

"Not so," replied the Ben- 
gali encouragingly. "It was 
more than that namely, a 
test of the Sahib Log's stu- 
pidity, and so of great im- 

" Stupidity ! " scoffed Bhag- 
get Singh. "Think you that 
Mainyakk Sahib is a fool not 
to recognise open insult?" 

"No; and now, being fore- 
warned about him, we are 
forearmed against him. But 
Jennings Sahib, look you, sus- 
pected nothing ! " 

"True, babu-gee, but there 
is one other who does." 

"Who is that?" 

"The trumpeter, Sodager 

"What! that child?" 

"Even so; for after parade 
this evening the wife of my 
syce's brother - in - law heard 
him hold speech with Main- 
yakk Sahib, and both your 
name and mine were spoken 
in a whisper the Lieutenant 
Sahib bending low over his 
horse's shoulder, his head close 
to that of the boy, who was 
pretending to tighten his 

The Bengali paled with 
anger. " Then we must act 
right quickly, Jemedar Sahib, 


The Weevils. 


or all is lost. First, make 
sure that the trumpeter does 
not leave the lines again to- 
morrow, lest he should hold 
further speech with Mainyakk 
Sahib ; and, secondly, the time 
has come for what we have 
often spoken of together." 

" You mean " began the 

Jemedar stumblingly. 

"I mean that WE do not 
pay you a thousand rupees 
a month for nothing," replied 
the anarchist significantly. 

"But, babu-gee " 

" Enough of your ' buts ' ! 
If, indeed, you care nothing 
that your enemy Ressaldar 
Mahmud Khan, the Moslem 
beggar, was promoted over 
your head; if, indeed, you 
have no power over your 
own Sikhs; and if, indeed, 
you fear the English, whose 
lickspittle I believe you still 
to be then leave this matter 
alone ! " 

"I am no lickspittle of any 
man," retorted Bhagget Singh 
sturdily. "Also, what I com- 
mand that will my men obey 
are they not from my own 
district? but the time is not 
yet ripe; and as yet I have 
only been able to approach 
twenty men." 

" Who are you to know when 
the time is ripe?" sneered the 
Bengali. " The Sikh buffalo is 
made for the plough, not for 
the Council Chamber for toil, 
not for thought." 

"And yet," replied the Sikh 
soldier suavely, fingering his 
curved sabre blade, "I have 
heard in our books of the cow 
that killed its Brahmin." 

The Bengali laughed un- 
easily. " Why such talk among 
friends ? " he asked smoothly. 
" The matter is quite simple. 
Next week you will make your 
Sikh squadrons drunk outside 
the Dharmsala 1 when they 
assemble for their evening 
festival, and when roused by 
rum and by your words against 
the British Raj a hallagalla 2 
will break out. The sign for 
this I will give myself by de- 
stroying the bells of arms of 
the Moslem squadrons with 
dynamite; for unless disarmed 
those treacherous Pathan tribes- 
men, who are ever an evil, 
smiling brood, would assuredly 
rally around their English 
officers to our great discom- 
fiture. Again, other of our 
friends will simultaneously ex- 
plode the artillery magazine, 
destroy the wireless station, 
and raise a religious riot 
among the scum of the city, 
who will then pour into the 
European quarter and fire it. 
The rum I have already made 
ready in barrels, and with it 
is mixed some of the drugs 
of which I spoke before, and 
which fires the brain with the 
lust of destruction." 

"But of what avail all this?" 
said the native officer shrewdly. 
"The British Raj will not fall 
to the ground because of two 
squadrons of drunken Sikhs, 
nor do I for one believe that 
the city will rise against it ! " 

"True, Sirdar, but there is 
much hidden behind all this. 
From the match to the blaze, 
and from the blaze to the 
jungle fire ; there are others 

1 Sikh place of worship. 

2 Disorder riot. 


The Weevils. 


watching Sepahipore, and for 
suoh timid ones a bold lead is 
necessary. Also we now but 
prepare a path for the King 
of Germany, who, after de- 
stroying the English armies 
at Kut-el-Amara, is already in 
Persia on his way to Hin- 
dustan, even as Sikander 
Khan 1 oame aforetime ; and I, 
for one, marvel at your hesi- 
tation, because the King of 
Germany, as all the world 
knows well, has but recently 
embraced the Sikh faith." 

"Indeed?" ejaculated Bhag- 
get Singh, in surprise. " I 
swear that I did not know of 
this before." 

" Your English officers would 
have every reason for keeping 
it from you," replied Anath 
Bhose drily, " and also for 
treating you like a child in 
other ways suoh as shaming 
you before their own ohap- 

The Jemedar rose, flushed 
with anger and with the air 
of one who burns his boats. 
" That is enough, babu-gee ! I 
have done with the Sahib Log. 
After all, am I a sweeper that 
a Mohamedan cattle -thief is 
promoted above me, and a 
beggarly lawyer allowed to sit 
in my presence? What now 
is your bidding that I may 
do it ? But first give me more 
rum to drink, for it quickens 
all thought." 

The anarchist smiled sym- 
pathetically. " Shabash ! Jeme- 
dar Sahib, and soon all the 
world shall ring with our 
name. Are you sure of your 
men if it comes to killing?" 

"After hearing the Sahibs' 
deceit about the King of Ger- 
many they will assuredly be 
filled with great anger, and 
already they are sullen, for they 
are mocked by the women of 
the city because they have not 
been sent to the war. Still 
they trust Captain Jennings, 
who is a real Bahadur, and 
they fear Mainyakk Sahib, who 
knows too much of our ways, 
and unless we can discredit 
these two in their eyes the 
men will never slay them 
drunk or sober." 

The Bengali frowned thought- 
fully for a minute. " I see," he 
said after a short pause, " and 
therefore we must so contrive 
that " 

But at this moment the ex- 
cited Dicky leaned forward over 
the edge of the whispering 
gallery that dominated the 
conspirators, and his too loosely 
tied turban oatehing against 
a rusty staple became unwound, 
and slipping from his head fell 
into the hollow emptiness below 
like some white ghost descend- 
ing into the Pit. It struck and 
overturned a native lamp that 
exploded, and which, leaping up 
with a fierce spurt of flame, 
threw a vivid, though moment- 
ary, glare upon the hitherto 
shadowy roof above, and in 
that brief moment of illumina- 
tion Bhagget Singh looked up, 
saw and recognised the face of 
his English subaltern. 

A second later every light 
in the uncanny building was 
swiftly extinguished and the 
temple plunged into utter dark- 

1 Alexander the Great. 


The Weevils. 


ness. Dioky stumbled down 
the slippery age -worn steps 
that led to earth again, and 
piloted by the oat-like trum- 
peter, who had seized his hand 
the better to guide him, fell 
suddenly into an ambush at 
the bottom of the stairway. 
Here three or four figures 
closed with him unexpectedly, 
and bringing him swearing to 
the ground, proceeded to restrict 
his immediate activities with a 
coil of rough hempen rope. He 
struck out viciously without 
undue regard for Queensberry 
rules, but his struggle proving 
unavailing, he found himself 
together with the trumpeter 
unceremoniously bundled into 
a small closet hard by, and 
then heard the key snap in the 
rusty look. Outside fragments 
of a whispered consultation 
were borne to his ears. "He's 
quite safe here/' he heard the 
old Brahmin say grimly. . . . 
" But why not to-night ? " . . . 
The last voice was Bhagget 
Singh's, and its tone was any- 
thing but encouraging. "Be- 
cause," came the cool reply, 
" we must dig out the old well 
before we can safely dispose of 
his body, and that work cannot 
be finished before to-morrow 

"Thanks," said Dioky sar- 
castically ; " don't hurry on my 
account ! " 

Bhagget Singh appeared to 
be resigned to the delay, for 
after some further and near- 
ly inaudible conversation, the 
prisoners in the cupboard heard 
him and the Bengali take leave 
of the Brahmin and cross the 
stone-pared courtyard outside. 
The Brahmin then addressed 

some low words to the fakir, 
who, although taking no part 
in the struggle, had remained 
a passive witness of it, and 
then both men approached 
the door of the prison in 
which Dioky and his trum- 
peter lay. 

" Look here, Sodager Singh," 
Dicky whispered, having man- 
aged to free himself from the 
hastily tied strands of rope, 
"I don't trust your reverend 
friends a bit, whatever you 
may say about them only being 
in with Anath Bhose as a ruse. 
So stand by to slosh 'em if 
they come nosing in here! 
You understand?" 

"But indeed, sahib," began 
Sodager Singh. The door at 
that moment swinging open, 
Dioky listened to no more, but 
struck out straight from the 
shoulder at the face of the'first 
figure framed against the star- 
light. A hearty British damn I 
came from the saintly mouth 
of the holy fakir, who, reeling 
against the wall, recovered his 
balance with difficulty, and then 
struck a match. 

" Hullo, young fellow my lad, 
so you're playing the Haroun- 
el-Raschid stunt too, are you ! " 
gasped the fakir, bubbling with 
laughter and producing a silver 
cigarette-case from his ragged 

"Good God I Berkelaye, is 
that you ? " cried Dicky in sur- 
prise. "Why the how the 
what the-^-why aren't you in 
France ? " 

"Because, my worthy hero, 
I'm on a secret political stunt 
of sorts rounding up these 
Ghadr gentry," replied the 
Major, looking most un- Major- 


The Weevils. 


like as he lit his cigarette ; 
"and as for you, d n your 
eyes for blacking one of 
mine ! " 

Dicky exploded with silent 
laughter. "What fun!" he 
said naively; "I don't mean 
blacking your eye, but the 
whole show. What a ripping 
fakir you make. Can't I help 

"Yes," replied the Major 
as we will now call the fakir 
"you can, and jolly well will! 
First, clearly understand that 
you're dead and buried, and 
that means you can scarcely 
be seen in your bungalow fcr a 
day or two it wouldn't be 
decent and, in consequence, 
you had better stay here in the 
shrine for the week-end with 
my old ' Brahmin' pal, who's 
quite good company, as you'll 
find. Let me introduce you 
Lieutenant Mainyakk Sahib, 
Inspector Mul Singh of the 
C.I.D. You'll have about three 
hundred fairies in the shape of 
the temple girls to keep you 
company, to say nothing of a 
thousand or so sacred monkeys 
as well, so you oughtn't to be 
dull, I'm not ! Further, your 
trumpeter's dead too; aren't 
you, Sodager Singh?" 

Sodager Singh, whose mind 
was in a whirl at the sudden 
and miraculous evolution of a 
Sahib from what had previ- 
ously been a holy and dirty 
fakir, gasped faintly, and agreed 
that he was. For all that he 
knew to the contrary, he might 
indeed have left this prosaic 
life since the beginning of the 
night's adventure. 

" But hasn't any one spotted 
you ? " asked Dicky, eyeing the 

tattered disguise with admir- 

"No," replied the Major 
with satisfaction ; " my chela 
wait until you see him, he's 
worth the whole C.I.D. put 
together! ran most of the 
shew, and I naver opened my 
mouth unnecessarily. Besides, a 
religieux can be pretty eccentric 
in this country without causing 
any comment that's why I 
chose the rdle. The nearest 
shave I had was that beastly 
fox-terrier of yours, who re- 
membered me and came out and 
wagged his tail in front of your 
bearer after the latter had set 
him on to drive me out of your 
compound ! Old Mohamed Din 
nearly had a fit and retired 
hurriedly, talking to himself 
about sorcery and Satan! 

"The thing is this," con- 
tinued the Major, "I've got 
that bahinshut Bhagget Sing 
on toast, and Anath Bhose is 
equally incriminated also ; but 
I haven't yet got hold of the 
names of the other of our lads 
who are mixed up in the show. 
So far, I don't think that the 
Ghadr has had much luck in 
the regiment, but that Bengali 
swine is as cute as you make 
'em, telling the men that the 
Government don't send 'em to 
the war because it doubts their 
courage, and cheery sort of yarns 
like that. Also half the women 
in the city are in his pay, and 
laugh at 'em about not being 
on service when they walk 
down the bazar of an evening, 
and you know how sulky a 
Sikh ean get if his dignity's 
ruffled by his women-folk. As 
far as I can make out, Anath 
Bhose and Bhagget Singh have 


The Weevils. 


approached about twenty of 
the Sikhs, selecting those who 
may have some minor regi- 
mental grievance that supplies 
a working basis for sedition. 
They hope to raise a shindy 
during the Sikh festival next 
week by making all the men 
tight on hooussed liquor and 
then turning a seditious Guru 1 
on to spout to them; as soon 
as I or rather, since I am 
supposed to be a deaf and dumb 
permanency in the shrine as 
soon as Inspector Mul Singh 
can get the list of names 
of the men involved in the eon- 
spiraoy, we'll round 'em all up 
on parade and hand 'em over 
to the Civil. We will have the 
Pathan squadron in the vicinity 
in case they out up nasty, but 
as a matter of fact I don't 
anticipate the rotters getting 
much sympathy from the re- 
mainder of their squadron, and 
twenty men can't give much 
trouble when arrested. And 
now, lad, that's that, and so to 
bed, as old Pepys puts it ! " 

" Bed ? " ejaculated Dicky, 
eyeing the hard pavement 
with disfavour. " What about 
my kit? Can't I get my 
bearer to bring my Wolseley 
valise along to-morrow?" 

" Certainly not ! " replied the 
stony - hearted field officer. 
"But you can share a nice 
cool slab of marble altar with 
me, come along ! " 

"And does the Colonel know 
of all this stunt ? " asked Dicky, 
as he investigated the dubious 
possibilities of the Shrine con- 
sidered as a dormitory. 

"Of course he does," came 

the sleepy reply; "you're not 
the only Sherlock Holmes in 
Asia ! " 

The morning of the Wed- 
nesday before the Sikh festival 
dawned sultry and breath- 
less, as Major Berkelaye now 
clothed and in his right mind 
rode upon the dusty maidan 
accompanied by Dicky Magniao, 
who had similarly been resur- 
rected from his living tomb in 
the temple. 

The Colonel and the Ad- 
jut ant were already upon 
parade, surveying the efforts 
of the last -joined ride of re- 
cruits in the jumping lane, 
while up and down the sheep- 
cutting tracks a squadron of 
smiling Pathans were un- 
ostentatiously trotting the 
"measured mile." To the 
right of the bells of arms a 
party of Punjaubi Mohame- 
dans were also unostenta- 
tiously engaged at aiming 
drill; and in the further dis- 
tance, and beyond the road, 
the regimental rough - riders 
were long-reining some newly- 
purchased young horses. 

The Sikh squadrons were 
forming up preparatory to 
riding school, and Jemedar 
Bhagget Singh, busily engaged 
in dressing their serried ranks, 
had his back turned when 
Dicky first arrived. When he 
had finished straightening the 
line he wheeled his horse about, 
only to come suddenly face to 
face with what at first sight 
he mistook for an apparition 
from the grave. 

"Salam Jemedar Sahib!" 

Sikh spiritual adviser. 

1918.] The Weevils. 

said Dicky politely, " nice 
morning, isn't it?" 

The Jemedar's face paled as 
it became suddenly borne in 
upon him that all his treason 
was discovered. He made no 
reply, but sat his horse like a 
man turned to stone, and at 
this moment the Colonel came 
cantering up with a sheet of 
paper in his hands. Standing 
up in his stirrup-irons, so that 
all might see and hear him the 
better, the Colonel slowly read 
out a list of twenty-two names. 

"Sowar Sant Singh?" 

" Present, sahib ! " 

* ' The walk march enough ! 
halt! dismount! Sowars Phul 
Singh? Chaggat Singh? Lai 
Singh ? " and he read down his 
black list until the twenty-two 
conscience-stricken Sikhs were 
assembled thirty paces in front 
of their squadrons. Here the 
officer commanding the Pathan 
squadron manoeuvred it still 
unostentatiously a little closer 
to the Sikhs. Lastly, the 
Colonel read out in a very 
grave voice indeed the name 
of Jemedar Bhagget Singh. 

The Sikh officer sat staring 
blankly to his front as one 
who had not heard the sum- 
mons, and then soldier-like he 
made a prompt decision. "In 
the name of the one true God, 
there is no such thing as 
death!" he quoted bravely 


from the Sikh Bible ; and 
snatching his light sabre 
from its slender scabbard, he 
galloped straight at Dicky 
Magniao, who happened to 
be directly in front of him. 
Dicky, whose own sword was 
already drawn for ceremonial 
purposes, dug both spurs home 
into his charger's flanks and 
met the onslaught at the 
oanter. The Sikh lunged 
shrewdly, the Englishman 
parried as skilfully, and as 
they both flashed past each 
other Dicky swung round 
swiftly in his saddle and 
drew a deep scarlet back- 
hand out straight across the 
nape of his vanishing oppo- 
nent's neck. 

The native officer dropped 
his sabre, clutched drunkenly 
at his horse's mane, and ten 
paces farther on fell heavily 
to the ground. 

He was quite dead when 
they came to pick him up, 
and Sodager Singh, dismount- 
ing, bestrode the lifeless body 
with a proprietary smile. 

"Those bitten by the Mad 
Jackal are better thus," he 
said grimly, throwing a sig- 
nificant glance at the "C" 
squadron clerk, who had 
incautiously appeared upon 
parade ; " and now, sahib, 
what of the Mad Jackal 
itself ? " 





THERE is always another 
beautiful world than the one 
we know, and the average 
European will find at least one 
new one if he travels by sea 
and land to the far-away 
Province of Mendoza in West- 
ern Argentina, passes leisurely 
from the green vineyards of 
the plain to the majestic terrors 
of the Cordillera, and descends 
by the steep slopes of Chile to 
the waters of the Pacific. It 
is a long trip, and a costly one, 
no doubt, but it will repay a 
big outlay of time and money 
for all who have the seeing eye 
and the smallest fraction of a 
soul. And part of the attrac- 
tion of this strange and distant 
world is, that it is really new 
and likely to remain so for a 
long time. A sea voyage of 
7000 miles, with a train jour- 
ney of 750 miles after that, is 
apt to keep a place pretty 
select. It is never likely to be 
trampled into a mere cosmo- 
politan commonplace by the 
hordes that haunt Switzerland 
and the Riviera, from which 
delectable places of the earth 
the sense of foreignness has 
wellnigh disappeared. And 
yet it is this sense of foreign - 
ness in people, language, and 
custom which lends the right 
background and gives the true 
thrill to the genuine traveller. 

The city of Mendoza is the 
home of some 80,000 souls. It 
lies 750 miles west of Buenos 
Aires. One leaves the capital 

in the afternoon, goes to bed 
later in a most comfortable 
sleeping - coach, and awakens 
next morning as the train is 
sauntering into the sandy 
desert of San Luis. Not a 
single new piece of scenery has 
been missed since the night 
before, because the road runs 
for about 500 miles over a 
perfectly flat ocean of fertile 
" camp," -and the general view 
at any one point is exactly 
what it will be 100 or 200 
miles farther on. But on en- 
tering San Luis Province, one 
enters a waste of barren sand, 
low scrub, and ground cactus, 
stretching for 150 miles. No 
life is to be seen except at 
an occasional railway station, 
where a few ragged mortals 
and a dozen goats awaken one's 
wonder at their existence in 
such desolation. No human 
contrivance can keep out the 
dust raised by the train. In- 
side, the far end of the car- 
riage is sometimes invisible, 
and outside one sees nothing 
but clouds of it driving past. 
When the temperature is about 
90 Fahrenheit, the passenger 
soon becomes caked with it, 
and he is also forced to eat it 
in the dining-car, notwith- 
standing the abundance of 
electric fans. It is therefore 
with peculiar joy that towards 
afternoon one hails the green 
vineyards of Mendoza, the 
little snug orchards of peach 
and vine, and the myriad rills 


At the Heart of the Andes. 


and tiny canals that have veri- 
tably caused the desert to re- 
joice and to blossom as the 
rose. Nowhere else can one 
realise better the blessings of 
irrigation. Apart from the 
beauty of fruit and flower, of 
tree and garden, irrigation has 
made this province the home, 
par excellence, of the wine in- 
dustry of the country. Your 
true Argentine, and most of 
his foreign guests, drink wine 
at every meal, and although 
there is no export worth the 
name, the home consumption 
of native wine is so great as 
to make it a staple industry, 
which receives every year more 
scientific care and cultivation. 
When the stranger, therefore, 
enters this garden of Bacchus, 
he sees constantly performed 
before his eyes, and in a most 
literal way, the well-known 
miracle of water turned into 
wine; for the river Mendoza, 
born among the snow-fields of 
the Cordillera, tumbles down 
to the foothills, is tapped and 
guided over the plain, sinks 
into mother earth, and prompt- 
ly reappears in the juice of the 

When you leave the station 
the charm of the little city 
strikes you at once. Almost 
every street is an avenue of 
trees, and provides delightful 
shade and shelter from the 
hot sun. On each side there 
flows the little rill which has 
been doled out from some 
bigger canal. In the centre 
of the town they flow more 
placidly along; but in the 
western outskirts, which lie 
sloping towards the foothills, 
they bubble down the con- 

duit to a merry tune, giving 
a distinct sense of refreshment 
on a hot day. And of course 
these "oanales," as they are 
called in Spanish, are largely 
controlled by the cleansing 
department. You see the pic- 
turesque employees thereof 
laying the white dust by 
simply swishing the water 
over the road by means of 
small pails attached to long 
wooden handles. I should im- 
agine that it is well to be on 
good terms with these gentle- 
men ! They must find it easy 
and natural to bestow a 
liberal baptism on people who 
provoke them. 

But the happiest use of 
these " oanales " is in watering 
your garden. The side -walks 
are not generally pavemented ; 
but even when they are, you 
can almost always tap the 
stream, guide it into your own 
premises, water your flowers 
and fruit, and draw off what 
remains into the main stream 
again. The gardener is in- 
dependent of rain in the city 
of Mendoza. And every one, 
rioh or poor, has his garden 
beautiful and luxuriant most 
of them are, cool and cosy, 
and laden with grapes, 
oranges, and peaches, and 
many other varieties of fruit. 
Indeed, compared with the 
hideous back rows of England 
and the gloomy tenements of 
Scotland, Mendoza is an en- 
chanted city, whose every 
street is a shady boulevard 
of palm and acacia, whose 
public buildings are tasteful 
and artistic, whose plazas of 
gorgeous blossom and per- 
fectly cultivated plants and 


Argentine Memories. II. 


flowers yield everlasting de- 
light to the eye, and in whose 
humblest home is the oool patio 
with its centre- well and green 
roof of vine. Along the main 
streets the broad sunny pave- 
ments are rendered at once 
gay and reposeful by the 
scores of cheerful idlers who 
sit and sip their drinks at 
tiny tables, and seem on 
happy terms with themselves 
and all mankind. One feels 
that this, indeed, is civilisa- 
tion, and thinks with pity and 
wonder of that older world 
beyond the seas where civil- 
isation is synonymous with a 
self-absorbed, wholly harassed 
existence. Not that business 
is lacking. There are banks 
and offices and railway head- 
quarters, courts of justice, 
municipal and provincial 
buildings, and great wine 
factories all offering plenty 
of scope for brain and energy 
and initiative. There are 
several miles of single and 
double track electric tram- 
ways, horse coaches are cheap 
and plentiful, motor -oars are 
everywhere, and the shops 
if not in size, certainly in 
window dressing are as 
wonderful and attractive as 
any in our home cities. But 
with it all there is ever the 
sight and the sense of an 
inwoven quietness and o@ol- 
ness. Big teams of mules 
are still seen dragging their 
old - fashioned carts over the 
outer streets, the courteous 
white - gaitered " vigilantes " 
smoke their " oigarillos " on 
duty, and not merely n arses 
and shop-girls, but the e'lite of 
the town, in smart carriages 

and handsome motors, turn out 
twice a week to hear the city 
band discourse classical music 
in the great and beautiful park 
that lies to the west on the first 
gentle slopes of the Andes. On 
these and similar occasions the 
Guard of Public Security are 
on duty. Mounted on splendid 
horses and garbed in the most 
gorgeous uniform, they lend a 
strong element of colour and 
chivalry to the scene. The 
Park is indeed worthy of any 
city in the world, and the 
natives will tell you, not with- 
out good reason, that it sur- 
passes Palermo in Buenos Aires. 
There is a large artificial lake, 
with a fleet of boats, and the 
paths and avenues wind about 
amidst entrancing spots of 
greenery, that are ever and 
anon lit by flashes of brilliant 
blossom. Between the higher 
branches one occasionally gets 
a glimpse of a great statue that 
seems to be several miles off. 
If you ask what it is, you get a 
brief reply brief, but full of 
pride and affection, " La Gloria, 
Senor." We will tell its tale 
later on. 

In the meantime any one in- 
terested in earthquakes will 
make his way right to the op- 
posite side of the city. There 
in the humblest regions of this 
pleasant town he will find the 
ruins of San Domingo and San 
Francisco. Only the very thick 
walls of the cathedral remain 
standing. During Easter week 
in 1861, just when the people 
had poured out of church, the 
catastrophe befell. In four 
seconds, we are told, the city 
was a mass of ruins, with ten 
thousand corpses buried under- 


At the Heart of the Andes. 


neath. Earth tremors can still 
be felt frequently. Although 
sometimes alarming, they leave 
no mark on the sunny tempera- 
ment of the people. 

But at all times the domi- 
nating feature of Mendoza is 
the great chain of the Andes. 
They dominate the mind too, if 
only unconsciously, and there 
is a thrill of expectation as one 
mixes with the busy throng of 
passengers on the platform f 
the narrow-gauge railway that 
winds up and away into the 
mysteries of the mountains. 
From the city, and notably 
from the Park, only the lower 
ranges are visible, and are so 
near that they entirely block 
the view of the giant central 
range. But these lower hills 
are themselves from 4000 feet 
to 8000 feet high, and the eye 
never wearies of gazing from 
the city at their frowning 
grandeur, their infinite variety 
of shape, and the changing 
tones of yellow, brown, and 
red that they reflect. 

It is six o'clock on a pure 
summer morning. The train 
from Buenos Aires has just 
arrived, and there is the usual 
bustle of passengers changing 
into the train that will start 
for Chile in half an hour. This 
train is just a miniature of the 
one they have left. The gauge 
is very narrow, and yet the 
carriages are comfortable and 
commodious. The dining-car 
is replete with food and 
wine, and excellent breakfasts 
and luncheons are served. 
The first hour is a gradual 
winding ascent, and takes us 
past a few suburban villages, 
delightful, snug little places, 

embowered in fruit and green- 
ery. One remembers most of 
all a certain garden, the prop- 
erty it is said of a Frenchman. 
Nowhere has the writer seen 
such a gorgeous riot of colour 
as in that garden, lying at the 
foot of mountains whereon not 
one green thing will grow. 

We reach the river Mendoza 
and the steep climb begins. 
The engine tugs and pants 
into the deepening valley, 
crossing and reorossing the 
river which foams down head- 
long among great boulders 
with never a space of calm. 
Fourteen times is the river 
crossed before the summit is 
reached, and so one becomes 
gradually accustomed to the 
dizzying depths beneath rail- 
less bridges, to the slow drag 
upwards along the very edge 
of awesome precipices, and to 
the mountain walls that seem 
close against the carriage 
window. A brief stop is made 
at Potrerillos and Caoheuta, 
both of which are fair -sized 
villages and have big hotels. 
Caeheuta is frequented by 
many visitors, not so much 
for the scenery as for the 
medicinal waters, which have 
a great reputation through- 
out the country. The baths 
are two miles in extent, and 
are ver 4000 feet above sea- 

After Caoheuta the traveller 
is borne still deeper into the 
silent cavernous heart of the 
great mountains. There is no 
valley worth the name, only 
massive boulders torn and 
twisted and scattered pell- 
mell to the gorge, in which 
the narrowing river is dash- 


Argentine Memories. //. 


ing and gurgling down. Even 
where the basin does widen 
out, there is only the coarsest 
grass and faintest vegetation. 
The sky has long since nar- 
rowed to an aroh of blue, only 
visible by putting one's head 
out of the window and look- 
ing up, for the mountain-sides 
rise heavenwards on either 
hand, sometimes sheer and 
rugged, sometimes smooth and 
convex, with vast arc -shaped 
stains left by spring-time tor- 
rents that have burst out from 
on high, and, unable to out a 
channel, have spread them- 
selves out in their descent 
over wide fan-shaped areas. 

About two in the afternoon 
Puente del Inoa is reached, and 
every one who really wishes to 
see the Andes alights here. 
The visitor's first instinct is 
to sweep the mountain walls 
that hem him in, and the 
second is to look back on the 
way he has come. He sees 
the oog-wheel track disappear 
at no great distance, as if over 
the round back of a barrel, and 
he feels that Mendoza must be 
right under his feet if he has 
been rising steadily for seven 
hours over a curved back like 
that. As a matter of fact he 
has come just 102 miles, and 
is right in the heart of the 
central range, though still a 
dozen miles from the railway 
summit. The valley is here 
about half a mile wide, no 
more, and so the tiny piece of 
civilisation lies almost buried 
beneath the towering hills that 
gird it round. It is difficult 
to believe that the smart little 
station is nearly 10,000 feet 
above sea -level. The atmos- 

phere, too, has changed. We 
have passed from an almost 
tropical heat to the cool 
autumn air of Scotland. 

Puente del Inoa takes its 
name from the curious natural 
bridge which spans the river 
at this point, carrying over it 
the highroad to Chile. The 
ancient Inoas must have ex- 
erted their sway as far south 
as this, for high up on the 
hillside is also a great stone, 
reached by a steep bridle-path, 
and called the Dios Inoa. At 
one glance the eye can take in 
the whole human settlement. 
It consists of the station, the 
post-office, the railway en- 
gineer's house, the solitary 
farm, where plenty of mules 
and a few cows are kept, and 
the large up-to-date hotel, 
which is the sole accommo- 
dation for summer visitors. 
These visitors come, not so 
much, it is feared, to view the 
sublimities and to climb the 
mountains, as to take the 
baths that are built under 
the natural bridge, and are 
reached by an underground 
tunnel straight from the door 
of the hotel. The thermal 
waters of these baths are good 
for rheumatism, but bad for 
the heart. 

The writer lived during his 
stay with the engineer. It is 
a post for which there is little 
competition, for during the 
long winter the whole place 
is buried under snow, with 
only the railway signals and 
the chimney-pots visible. One 
has to dig one's way out and 
in, and life is one long fight 
with icy winds and deep 
snow. The railroad is of 


At the Heart of the Andes. 


course blocked, and all traffic 
stopped for months together, 
and every spring there is the 
weary task of cutting open 
the road both by spade-work 
and by means of great re- 
volving snow-ploughs fixed in 
front of the engine and driven 
by its steam. But it must be 
remembered that in this part 
of the world the snow-line is 
very much higher than we are 
used to in Europe. It is 
roughly about 13,000 feet, and 
so in summer the visitor must 
look to the high summits to 
see the gleaming patches of 
white. The prevailing colours 
in summer are brown, yellow, 
and ochre, in all shades and 
combinations. In late years 
it has been found that close 
to the river alfalfa will grow 
to some little extent. The 
goats seem to eat stones, to 
judge from the diligence they 
show in visibly bare and barren 

There are various excursions 
to be made from Inoa, notably 
to the Almacenes on the north 
and to the Penitentes on the 
southern side of the valley. 
The latter is distinguished by 
huge boulders and ridges about 
3000 feet above the railway, 
resembling vast images on 
their penitential knees. There 
is also the Dios Inoa, which 
one can climb on foot if the 
nerves are good; and above 
all the Cumbre, where the 
highroad reaches the summit 
of the pass into Chile. It is 
after a certain stage in these 
ascents that the true majesty 
of the Andes reveals itself with 
almost tremendous effect, for 
the snowy peaks and shoul- 

ders of Tolosa, Tupungato, 
Aconcagua, and other giants 
rise to view on every side, 
and in that crystal air seem 
to close in and smother one 
in their grandeur. 

The writer remembers well 
his climb on foot to the Dios 
Inca. The awesome preci- 
pices, which at times drop 
sheer from one's feet, are 
ticklish enough to ordinary 
nerves; but it was the snow- 
clad monstrosities of Tolosa 
and Aconcagua which physi- 
cally overwhelmed one with a 
sense of utter pigmy feeble- 
ness, and created a horrible 
sensation that one had lost 
all weight and was on the 
point of being blown by a 
breath of wind into the awful 
depths below. Whether this 
is the sensation which leads, 
as some say, to an occasional 
meaningless suicide, the writer 
knows not; but he confesses 
that he had in sheer fright 
to sit down on some secure 
ledge of rock and turn away 
his eyes from these towering, 
threatening masses that were 
far off and yet overwhelm- 
ingly near. Not only does the 
weight of the body seem to 
vanish, but these snowy mon- 
sters themselves seem to quiver 
and reel as if the whole solid 
earth were rocking on its base, 
and all things clinging to its 
surface might be shot into the 
horrid depths of space. This 
vivid and unreasonable sensa- 
tion was no doubt partly caused 
by the endless formations and 
transformations of cloud and 
vapour that rolled and eddied 
among these sublime heights, 
with such swift and startling 


Argentine Memories. II. 


effects that the eye became 
dazed, and across that gulf of 
crystal - clear air, snow and 
cloud and rock seemed all 
shifting and unfixed together. 
And one other thing contri- 
butes to this strange experi- 
ence namely, the sense of 
vast loneliness. The Alps are 
penetrated and overrun by 
humanity. They are the play- 
things of a gay and venture- 
some crowd. But here Nature 
reigns supreme, and the tra- 
veller feels that he has put 
himself within her titanic 
power, far from the reach and 
rescue of his race. Neverthe- 
less, the writer has in his 
possession, as a memento of 
that climb, a small round 
mirror fixed in a gaudy frame 
of gilt, and he sometimes finds 
it difficult to believe that this 
tiny evidence f human vanity, 
dropped, no doubt, from some 
pack-mule, was picked up some 
12,000 feet high, in the desolate 
wilds of South America. 

Two days later a party of 
six of us set out early in the 
morning to make the climb, 
par excellence, of this region 
of the Cordillera. The Cumbre, 
as the name implies, is the 
highest point of the road to 
Chile. We were mounted on 
mules. From Puente Inoa to 
Las Cuevas at the head of the 
valley is ten miles, during 
which the road rises 1300 feet, 
and although the traveller is 
passing along amidst mountain 
grandeur that is hardly sur- 
passed in any part of the world, 
his mule remains the supreme 
fact! The animal is not only 
a philosopher, he is a stern 
teacher of philosophy. On his 

wretched bony back one is 
almost forced to learn patience 
endurance, self-restraint, and 
other stoic virtues. His own 
stubborn virtue is incredible. 
He carries out his plans with 
utter indifference to rider or 
"revenque." His walking pace 
is funereal, his trot is painful, 
and his gallop torture, and he 
indulges in either three forms 
of exercise just when it suits 
him. Unlike the horse, he has 
no ambition to keep level with 
his mates. Strong language 
and hard knocks he placidly 
accepts, as he does the broken 
boulders in which his feet pass 
on unerring and unafraid. 

We dismounted about ten 
o'clock at the Las Cuevas 
Hotel, which, with its out- 
houses, is practically the only 
human dwelling - place. The 
station is the last on the 
Argentine side of the Trans- 
andine Eailway. A few kilo- 
metres farther on the track 
suddenly vanishes beneath the 
mountains, to reappear on the 
Chilean slopes from a tunnel 
about two kilometres long. 
The hotel is really a kind of 
stone fortress against winter 
blizzards, and a general store 
for the few railway employees 
who must face the winter and 
spring. The garments in stock 
are arctic in nature, and out 
of them I chose a thick heavy 
poncho for the cold of the 
Cumbre. After coffee and 
bread we mounted again, and 
were soon beginning the climb 
proper on the mule path that 
is the steepest and shortest 
route to the summit. We 
could fix our objective by a 
big patch of snow lying just 


At the Heart of the Andes. 


beneath it. It was now, of 
course, that the mule asserted 
himself as the king of moun- 
tain oarriers. In single file, 
up a tortuous and precipitous 
path, narrow as a ribbon, 
stony always, and treacherous 
often, owing to a dry loose 
texture, the mules bore us 
steadily and patiently, without 
apparent weariness or discom- 
fort. With well-known per- 
versity, they chose the very 
edge of the abyss wherever 
there was any choice to make, 
and one could only keep one's 
eyes fixed sideways on the 
slope above to avoid the allur- 
ing and dizzying slopes below. 
The trickiest part of this path 
is called the Cuohillo del Dia- 
bolo, the Devil's Knife, and 
here indeed one is absolutely 
at the mercy of one's mule. 
The mountain wall is shaped 
like a barrel, with the far 
depths curving inwards out 
of sight, while the track rises 
in steep zigzags on the very 
outermost circumference of this 
uncanny contour. Withal the 
ground is loose and crumbling 
in the extreme. One stumble 
or mistake, and both rider 
and mule would certainly, like 
Humpty Dumpty, have a great 
fall, and the possibility is 
forced upon one by the sight 
of more than one mule's skele- 
ton lying far below. The 
creepiest moments are at each 
corner of the zigzag, when 
the brute, in making the turn, 
raises his forefeet so much 
higher than his hind ones, and 
with such painful deliberation 
that the rider feels that he is 
just beginning to fall backwards 
and downwards for ever. 

The Cumbre was reached 
and conquered at last, and one 
traveller at least felt a thrill 
of pride and exhilaration. He 
also felt a gale of icy wind 
that blew through his thick 
poncho as if it had been a 
gauze veil and ate into his 
very vitals. For this spot, 
though only the highest point 
of the pass into Chile, and 
though, beside the snow-clad 
giants that rise on every side, 
it is no mountain at all, is 
actually approaching 13,000 
feet above sea -level, and is 
bitingly cold. What it can be 
like in winter is perhaps best 
gauged by a small rough- 
hewn mausoleum of stone which 
covers the remains and com- 
memorates the bravery of five 
postmen, who, while carrying 
the mails from Chile, were 
frozen to death at this very 

But indeed this Cumbre, so 
far from the world of men, 
is an open-air sanctuary of 
the sublimities. Over its bleak 
stony bosom passed the heroic 
army of General San Martin 
as he led them to victory 
against the Spaniards, freeing 
first Chile and then Peru from 
the hated yoke, and ensuring 
for ever the liberty of his 
native land. Far down in 
Mendoza his gallant deeds 
have been made deathless by 
a magnificent statue to his 
memory. It is an immense 
figure of Liberty drawn in a 
chariot by dashing horsemen, 
and round the huge pedestal 
runs a frieze of bronze, wherein 
is cut in bas-relief the story 
of this bold campaign San 
Martin in council with his 


Argentine Memories. //. 


staff, the patriotism of women, 
the toil of men, the arduous 
conquest of the mountains, 
ending with scenes of battle 
and of victory. The memorial 
has been erected at the nation's 
expense, on a hill 1500 feet 
high, beautifully laid out and 
planted, and approached from 
the city by a specially made 
road three miles in length. 
The hill is known through- 
out the Argentine as the Cerro 
de la Gloria The Hill of Glory 
and any one who stands 
13,000 feet high upon the 
Cumbre and thinks it out, will 
decide that it is a very fitting 

One's attention, however, is 
drawn more immediately to 
something else. The boundary- 
line between the Argentine and 
Chile runs right along the 
summit of this pass, and erected 
upon this line is perhaps one of 
the most curious memorials in 
the world. It is a colossal 
statue of Christ the Redeemer. 
Cast in bronze, and raised upon 
a solid concrete pediment, the 
gigantic figure it seems to be 
nearly forty feet in height 
is designed in loose robes, and 
bears aloft in one arm a great 
metal cross. The pediment 
bears a plaque with the fol- 
lowing inscription: 






It was designed by an Ar- 

gentine sculptor, and commem- 
orates the settlement by arbi- 
tration of a boundary dispute 
which threatened a bitter war 
between the two nations. But 
the spectator hardly thinks of 
that, both touching and pro- 
mising though it is. He sees 
only the majestic figure of 
peace and goodwill, standing 
there amidst the silence and 
the unspeakable sublimity, far 
above the busy haunts of men, 
in the very heart of the Andes. 
One need be no moralist, 
whether pagan or Christian, 
to catch the wonder and sig- 
nificance of that figure and 
that scenery, Man and Nature 
alone together, silent together, 
and yet both eloquent of things 
too high and deep for common 
men to speak. One thinks of 
the village of Nazareth, so 
utterly far away in space and 
time, and in a flash the world 
becomes a place of miracle and 
mystery. Or one dwells vague- 
ly upon this symbolic picture 
of two great human creeds 
God manifest in Man, and God 
immanent in Nature, both 
made concrete in these lonely 

But had there been no sym- 
bolic statue, no historic glories, 
nothing but the scene around, 
the Cumbre would yet be hal- 
lowed by the grandeur that 
girds it on every side. Itself 
a high mountain, it is yet 
dwarfed beside the towering, 
snow-clad peaks and shoulders 
of Tupungato, Junoal, Tolosa, 
Aconcagua, and others whose 
names I know not, every one of 

1 " The Workers' Clubs of the Argentine Republic to Christ the Redeemer 
for lasting peace between the Argentine and Chilean nations." 


At the Heart of the Andes. 


them much higher than Mont 
Blano, and scattered around in 
suoh profusion that the eye has 
a feast of unsurpassable glories. 
Aoonoagua, the menareh of 
them all, is about twenty-four 
miles to the north, and through 
that distance one can see with 
perfect distinctness the snow 
drifting in hurricane gusts off 
the very summit. Indeed, from 
the Cumbre one gets* an excel- 
lent view of this famous moun- 
tain. About 23,000 feet in 
height, it offers the spectacle of 
10,000 feet of everlasting snow 
and glacier, and this in the 
height of a subtropical summer. 
One can only realise suoh 
heights and feel the terror of 
their majesty by first ascend- 

ing steadily one hundred and 
twelve miles from the plain to 
an altitude of 13,000 feet, only 
there finding the first patches 
of snow, and seeing still far 
above him those white giants 
of the world. 

Indeed, one might be in a 
different world altogether. It 
is positively hard to imagine 
the green familiar earth. Not 
the eye of eagle could pierce to 
any living plant or thing f 
green. Chile, we know, lies there 
beneath our feet, and beyond 
the great ooean, but all the eye 
oan see is towering snow-clad 
monsters coming up out of the 
void, as if from some horrible 
bottomless pit. 

P. H. N. 



H. /L t S. 


WHEN the galleys of Phoenicia, through the gates of Hercules, 

Steered South and West along the coast to seek the Tropic Seas, 

When they rounded Cape Agulhas, putting out from Table Bay, 

They started trading North again, as steamers do to-day. 

They dealt in gold and ivory and ostrich feathers too, 

With a little private trading by the officers and crew, 

Till rounding Guardafui, steering up for Aden town, 

The tall Phoenician Captain called the First Lieutenant down. 

" By all the Tyrian purple robes that you will never wear, 

By the Temples of Zimbabwe, by King Solomon I swear, 

The ship is like a stable, like a Carthaginian sty. 

I am Captain here confound you ! or I'll know the reason why. 

Every sailor in the galley has a monkey or a goat ; 

There are parrots in the eyes.of her and serpents in the boat. 

By the roaring fire of Baal, I'll not have it any more : 

Heave them over by the sunset, or I'll hang you at the fore ! " 

" What ia that, sir ? Not as cargo ? Not a bit of private trade ? 

Well, of all the dumbest idiots you're the dumbest ever made, 

Standing there and looking silly: leave the animals alone." 

(Sailors with a tropic liver always have a brutal tone.) 

"By the orescent of Astarte, I am not religious yet 

I would sooner spill the table salt than kill a sailor's pet." 



A perfectly calm blue sea, a finding rest for his aching 
blazing June sun, and absolutely muscles. Now he was heading 
nothing to break the mono- roughly towards his home 
tony of a blank horizon. The with but slight hopes f ever 
sparrow was dead-beat, and reaching it. 
travelling slowly te the north A faint droning neise to the 
and west on a zigzag course, north made him turn, and low 
about two hundred feet high, over the straight-ruled horizon 
The sparrow had no right to fee he saw a silvery- white line that 
there at all. He hailed from every moment grew larger. He 
a Yorkshire hedgerow, and headed towards it, but at a 
nothing but a real three-day mile range swerved away to 
fog and westerly winds could pass astern of it. It was not 
have brought him over such a an inviting object for even a 
waste of waters. He had been lost sparrow to rest on. With 
flying in a circle all night, engines running slow so slow- 
swerving at intervals down to ly that the blades of the great 
the water in the vain hope of propellers could be easily seen 


with a broad white-and-blaok 
ensign flapping lazily below 
and astern, the Zeppelin droned 
on to the south'ard, a thing of 
massive grace and beauty on 
such a perfect summer's day. 

With a vague idea that 
the monster might lead him 
home, the sparrow turned and 
followed. The Zeppelin slowly 
drew ahead and rose higher, 
while far to the south, another 
monster rose over the skyline, 
black against the sun. The 
great craft passed each other 
and turned away, the first one 
heading back to the north 
whence he had come, and the 
second disappearing to the east, 
climbing slowly as he went. 

The sparrow turned also and 
fluttered and dipped in path- 
etic confidence after his first 
visitor. The fact of having 
seen something, however un- 
pleasant and strange - looking, 
had given him a new access of 
strength, and he was able to 
keep the great silver thing 
in easy view. Suddenly the 
Zeppelin tilted like a hunter 
at a high fence, and the note 
of his engines rose to a dull 
roar. He climbed like well, 
like a sparrow coming up 
to a house-top and at three 
thousand feet he circled at full 
power, levelling off his angle, 
and showing a turn of speed 
which left the frightened bird 

The sparrow fluttered on 
vaguely, passing at 100 feet 
above the water, below the 
Zeppelin. He had decided that 
a pilot who played tricks like 
that was no sort of use to him, 
and that he had better stick 
to his original idea of working 


H.M.S. . 113 

to the north and west, however 
lonely a course it might be. 
He swerved a little at a rush- 
ing, whistling noise that came 
from above him, and which 
grew to a terrifying note. A 
big dark object whipped past 
him, and a moment later 
splashed heavily into the 
mirror-like surface below. The 
rings made by its impact had 
hardly started to widen, when 
there was a great convulsion, 
and a column of smoky-white 
water leapt up behind him, 
followed by the roar of an 
explosion. The sparrow started 
to climb to elimb as he had 
never done in his life. Twice 
more his weariness forgotten 
he was urged to further 
efforts to gain height, by the 
shook of the great detonations 
from the water below. The 
Zeppelin was down to a 
thousand feet now, swinging 
round on a wider circle. Five 
hundred feet below, the sparrow 
saw a faint streak on the 
water which faded at one end 
into blue sea, and at the other 
narrowed to a little feather of 
spray round a dark point that 
was travelling like the fin of 
some slowly moving fish to the 
north-westward. The Zeppelin 
saw it too, and came hunting 
back along the line. Bang 
bang bang ! Great columns 
shot up again ahead and 
astern of the strange fish, and 
away went the sparrow to the 
south once more. Any course 
was bad in this place, and it 
was better to die alone in the 
waters than to be pursued by 
such a monster of the air. As 
he went he heard more and 
more detonations behind him, 


until the noise of the droning 
engine had died, when he was 
again alone over the sparkling 
unfriendly sea. The exertions 
and alarm of the last hour had 
taken the last of his reserve 
forces, and in uneven flutter- 
ings his flight tended lower 
and lower, till he was a bare 
twenty feet from what he knew 
must be his grave. Then came 
a miracle of war. A bare 
quarter-mile ahead a thing 
like a tapering lance began to 
rise and grow from the water. 
It was "followed by a grey, 
black-lettered tower which also 
grew and showed a rounded 
grey hull, moving slowly south 
with a white band of froth 
spinning away astern. A lid 
on the tower clanged open, and 
two figures appeared. One 
raised something to his eye, and 
faced south. The other stood 
on the rail and pivoted slowly 
round, staring at sky and sea. 

"I wonder what the deuce 
he was bombing bit of wreck- 
age, I suppose," said the man 
on the rail. 

" Well, it wasn't us anyway. 
The blind old baby-killer." The 
man with the sextant lowered 
it and fiddled with the shades. 
" Weve got no boats near, have 
we, sir?" 

"Not for donkeys' miles. I 
hope it was a Fritz, anyway. 
I say, look at that spadger ! " 

"Where? I don't see it. 
Stand by. Stop, sir." 

"All right, I got you. Here, 
catch this watch. That spad- 
ger's gone down into the cas- 
ing, and he'll drown if we dip 
with him there. Look out for 
those Zepps. coming back." 

The Captain swung quickly 

H.M.S. . [Jan. 

down the foreside of the con- 
ning tower, ran forward and 
peered into the casing in the 
eyes of the boat. 

" Zepp. coming, sir, north 
of us, just gone behind a bit 
of cloud." 

" Zepp. be damned. Ah ! got 
you, you little beggar." He 
reached his arm into a coil of 
wet rope and rose triumph- 
antly to his feet. The sparrow 
cheeped pitifully as he ran aft 
again and took the ladder in 
two jumps. He gave a glance 
astern and another all round 
the horizon before following his 
sextant-clutching subordinate 
below. The lid clanged, and 
with a sigh, a gurgle, and 
a flirt of her screws the sub- 
marine slid under, the blank 
and expressionless eye of her 
periscope staring fixedly at an 
unconscious but triumphant 
Zeppelin that was gliding out 
from a fleecy patch of cloud 

"Here you are, Lizzie. Skip- 
per said I was to let him go 
soon's we got in, but I just 
brought 'im to show you. 
We've 'ad 'im aboard five days 
now, and 'e can't 'alf eat bis- 
cuit. 'E's as full as 'e can 'old 
now. Open the window, old 
girl, and we'll let 'im out afore 
I starts 'uggin yer." 

The lid of the cap-box opened 
wide and the sparrow hopped 
to the table. He raised his 
cramped wings and fluffed out 
his feathers as he felt his 
muscles again. There was a 
flutter and a flip of his im- 
pudent tail, and quicker than 
the eye could follow him the 
wanderer was gone. 

1918.] H.M.S. . 115 


Up the well-remembered fairway, past the buoys and forts we 


Saw the houses, roads and churches, as they were a year ago. 
Far astern were wars and battles, all the dreary clouds were 

As we turned the Elbow Ledges felt the engines ease to 


Rusty side and dingy paintwork, stripped for war and cleared 

for battle 
Saw the harbour-tugs around us smelt the English fields 

English fields and English hedges sheep and horses, English 

Like a screen unrolled before us, through the mist of English 


Slowly through the basin entrance twenty thousand tons 


With a thousand men aboard her, all a-weary of the War 
Warped her round and laid alongside with the cobble-stones 

"There's a special train awaiting, just for you to come ashore." 

Out again as fell the evening, down the harbour in the gloaming 
With the sailors on the fo'c'sle looking wistfully a-lee 
Just another year of waiting just another year of roaming 
For the Majesty of England for the Freedom of the Sea. 


Old Bill Dane ? Yes, he's leg and he had a scalp wound, 
married now. We got a week's Nothing to write home about, 
refitting leave, and I've just but it didn't make any more 
been seeing him through it. of a Venus of him when it 
Ye es, there was a bit of a healed. They sent us on sick- 
hitch when they were engaged, leave, and we stayed with his 

but Well, I'll tell you people. His guvnor's the eye 

the story. I saw most of it, specialist, you know got a 

because I was sort of doing home in town, and keeps the 

second for him then too. You smell of iodoform in Harley 

see, he and I got it rather in Street, and doesn't let it come 

the neck in the August scrap, into the house. We were all 

and we came out of hospital right. We led the quiet life, 

together. I had a smashed and just pottered around, and 


saw the shows and so on. 
We gave the social life a miss 
until Bill's sister let us in. 
Bill didn't want to go, but 
she put it to me, and as I 
was sort of her guest I had 
to make him come. Who ? 
The sister? Oh! all right, 
you know. Don't be a fool, 
or I won't tell you the yarn. 
Well, she took us poodle- 
faking, and it oost me a bit 
at Gieves' for new rig too. 
It was about our third stunt 
that way when Bill got into 
trouble. We were at some 
bally great house belonging 
to a stockbroker or bookie or 
some one, and they were doing 
fox -trots up and down the 
drawing-room, and Bill and I 
were rather out of it. I was 
lame and he's no dancing man, 
unless it's just dressed in a 
towel or two to amuse guests 
in the wardroom when there's 
a bit of table-turning going on. 
Some woman came and told 
him he'd got to join up, and 
took him over to the girl. 
She was dressed regular war- 
flapper fashion, you know, like 
a Bank of Expectation cheque, 
except she hadn't got a top- 
hat on as some of them had 
lately. Most of 'em in the 
room were togged out like 
that, and Bill and I had just 
agreed we didn't go much on 
the style at all, but Bill is a 
proper lamb about women, 
He did one turn of the room 
with the girl, dancing a sort 
of Northern Union style, and 
then she stopped, and he 
brought her over to me and 
plumped her on the sofa be- 
tween us. I think he wanted 
to see if I was laughing. She 

H.M.S. . [Jan. 

started on me at once, and 
asked me all about my leg 
and Bill's head, and talked 
like a Maxim. Asked me if 
we were great friends, and 
made me laugh. I said we 
had only forgathered be- 
cause I had beaten him in 
the middle - weights in the 
Grand Fleet championships, 
and though I had never seen 
his face before, his left stop 
had touched my heart. She 
dropped me then she thought 
I was pulling her leg and 
turned to Bill, and then his 
sister took me off to get her 
tea. I didn't realise Bill 
was getting soft about it till 
his sister told me, though the 
fact of our going to tea and 
dinner at the girl's .home that 
week had seemed funny to me 
at the time. The sister was 
rather pleased about it said 
she knew the girl and liked 
her. I said I didn't think 
much of that sort, but she 
smoothed me down a bit. She 
thought that they would do 
each other good. I said Bill 
was such an old lamb he'd 
only get sloppy, and do what 
the girl told him; but she 
laughed. She told me I might 
know Jim in the ring, but I 
didn't know much about him 
otherwise. I was rather shirty 
at that, but I think now she 
was talking sense, though I 
didn't then. Well, Bill can 
get quite busy when he makes 
his mind up, and the way he 
rushed that girl was an educa- 
tion to watch. They were en- 
gaged in ten days from the 
first time we went to her 
house, and I don't think we 
missed seeing her for more 




than twelve hours in that 
time. I? Oh, I and the sis- 
ter were chaperons. I didn't 
mind. I was sorry for Bill, 
but I wasn't going to spoil 
things for him if he was set 
on it. 

The girl's people were all 
right. They were rather the 
Society type, you know 
thought London was capital 
of the world, and that a 
Gotha bomb in the West 
End ought to mean a new 
Commander-in- Chief to relieve 
Haig; but they were quite 

The trouble ? Well, I'm com- 
ing to that. It came about a 
week after they had announced 
the engagement. Old Bill had 
been getting a bit restive over 
things. You see, he had begun 
to wonder just where he came 
into the business. He wanted 
to get the girl off by her 
lonesome to a desert island, 
and tell her what a peach 
she was, for the rest of her 
natural life ; but the girl hadn't 
got an inkling of what he 
thought about it. He was 
towed round like a pet bear 
and told to enjoy himself, 
while people talked over his 
head. She was just a kid, 
and she didn't know. It 
seemed to her that being en- 
gaged was good fun, and 
getting married was a matter 
they could think about later, 
when she'd had time to con- 
sider it. She was all for the 
tango-tea and the latest draw- 
ing-room crazes. I didn't feel 
enthusiastic about his affairs, 
and I told the sister so; but 
she laughed about it all. I 
didn't. The girl, Hilda her 

name was Hilda Conron was 
just like a kid with a toy. 
She took him around and 
showed him off, and she went 
on quacking away to all her 
pals as if Bill wasn't in the 
room. She seemed to take it 
for granted he was going to 
join up with her crowd and 
learn to do the same tricks 
and talk the same patter as 
they did. Bill certainly tried ; 
but they treated him like a 
fool, and he told me several 
times he felt like one. Well 
then, we came to the smash. 
Lord, it was a queer show, 
and I'd sooner have had my 
leg off than have missed it. 
We were taken off to a 
charity auction, Red Cross or 
something, where they sold bits 
of A. A. shell with the Gov- 
ernment marks on them as 
bits of Zepp. bombs, and 
Pekinese dogs for a hundred 
quid or so. After the sale, 
about twenty of the house- 
hold and the guests that had 
paid most clustered round to 
add up the takings and drink 
tea and talk. Miss Conron 
had been selling things, and 
was dressed up to the nines. 
There was a bishop there, 
and some young staff officers 
and some civilians, M.P.'s, or 
editors or something like that. 
Old Bill was sitting with me 
and his sister, looking like a 
family lawyer at a funeral, 
and the girl was perched on 
a sofa with a lanky shop- 
walker-looking bloke alongside 
her. He was an indispensable 
of sorts Secretary to the 
Minister of some bloomin' thing 
or other. He was the lad, I 
tell you, sort of made you 



feel you were waiting on the 
mat when he talked. He was 
laying down the law about 
the War and all about it, 
and he talked like all the 
Angels at a Peaoe Conference. 
But it was the bishop that 
put his foot in the mulli- 
gatawny first. He agreed 
with the smooth-haired draper- 
man about the need of peace, 
but he said we should see 
that Germany provided suit- 
able reparation for Belgium. 
Bill sat up and got red and . 
stuttered, and said: "I don't 
think Germany or anybody oan 
give Belgium baok what she has 

They all looked at Bill as if 
he had just dawned on them, 
and Bill looked more foolish. 
The draper -man shipped an 
eye-glass and looked him over 
like a new specimen. " Ah ! " 
he said, "our naval friend? 
perhaps you will tell us in what 
way you consider the War can 
be ended before the world 
comes to economic ruin. Must 
we wait until you have had 
your fill of fighting or have de- 
stroyed the High Sea Fleet ? " 

Bill stood up and stopped 
looking silly. Miss Dane leaned 
baok in her chair, and I heard 
her sigh as if she was pleased 
about something. 

"Never mind the High Sea 
Fleet," said Bill. " That's not 
your business to worry about. 
But as to 'fill of fighting,' 
you've said it there. When 
we've had our fill of fighting 
Germany will have had more, 
but we're a long way from that 

The long stiff turned to Miss 
Conron. "Why, little Miss 

. [Jan. 

Hilda," he said, "your fiance 
is charming. He should speak 
in the Park on Sundays and 
we would all come to listen." 

The girl got red and looked 
daggers at Bill. She didn't 
like his making a fool of him- 
self, and she wanted him back 
in his chair again. The long 
man put a hand on her knee 
and spoke quietly to her, and 
she shook her head at him and 
laughed. That did it. My 
oath ! that did it all right. 
Bill shrugged his shoulders 
baok and took station in the 
outer ring of draper -wor- 
shippers, and spoke like a a 

"You blank, blank, blank," 
he said, " get off that sofa 
and get away from Miss 

The Bishop looked as if the 
end of the world had come and 
he was adrift with his cash 
accounts. The staff officers 
looked blank and the women 
got soary. I got up and took 
station on Bill's quarter in case 
any one got excited. The long 
man put up his glass again and 
showed symptoms of an ap- 
proaching oration. 

"You stay then, you half- 
breed dog," said Bill; "I'm 
going to talk to you." Bill 
put his hands in his coat 
pockets and looked around. 
"Now listen," he said; "I'm 
talking for a lot of men who 
aren't here. Were fighting 
this show, and there are some 
millions of us. Who are you 
to talk of War or Peace ? By 
God, if you try and pack up 
we'll put you to work again. If 
you're going to compromise with 
Germany, we won't. Have you 




forgotten what the Germans 
oan do ? My oath, you make 
me siok. What oan it matter 
if the nations are all broken 
and rained so long as we smash 
Germany? We don't want 
money and luxuries to fight on. 
Give us food and munitions till 
we have done what we started 
to do. You whining people 
what do you know of it ? Have 
you got no guts at all ? Have 
you read the Bryoe Report? 
Yes ; I bet you have, and 
looked it away so that your 
women shouldn't see it. I tell 
you, it doesn't matter to us, 
and we're about four million 
men, if we are all killed so long 
as we kill eight million Huns. 
I know a sergeant who has 
killed five Prussian officers, and 
I think he's a real man, not 
like you. He took to it after 
he saw a five-year-old girl with 
her hands out off hanging like 
a suoking-pig on a meat-hook 
in a wrecked French village. 
Doesn't that make you feel it ? 
I fcell you, if you play the fool 
behind our backs we'll take 
charge of you. Yes, Bishop, 
you'll keep up the good work 
in a munition factory, and 
you'll work hard too. If you 
can't be a patriot now, you will 
be when you've been caned 
across your lathe." 

They were as still as mice, 
and the rumble of traffic along 
Piccadilly sounded very loud. 
Miss Conron was as white as a 
sheet, and her eyes were staring 
as if she was soared to death. 
Bill took a long breath and 
went on 

"I've tried to see your 
point of view while I've been 
among you, and I can't. I'm 

going to leave you and get back 
to my own lot. I'm giving up 
something I didn't think I 
could give up, but I won't join 
you just to get it. There are 
not so many of us as there are 
of you, but you'll do what you're 
told if we take charge. Most 
of us have seen dead men and 
some of us have seen dead 
women. None of you have 
seen either, and you don't un- 
derstand. You want to hide 
things away and pretend 
they're not there. They are 
there, and they are going on 
wherever the Germans are, you 
fools. There's a man here who 
has been impertinent to me 
because he thinks I'm a fool. 
I'm a better man than any six 
of his sort, and I'm going to 
show him how. It will do the 
rest of you good to watch, be- 
cause you haven't seen death 
yet, and a man with a bruise 
or two will seem a big thing to 
you. Come along, my sofa- 
king, you're for it." 

Bill walked up to him with 
his hands down and the women 
began to squeal. The draper- 
man was game. He took a 
step forward and swung his 
right. Bill hooked him under 
the chin and gave him the 
left in the stomach. The 
poor beggar backed off, taking 
a wicked upper-cut as he did so. 
As he straightened again Bill 
sent a couple of full swings to 
his head. He was going down, 
but Bill wouldn't let him. I 
think if he hadn't been so clever 
with Miss Conron on the sofa he 
would have got off fairly cheap, 
but a girl makes a lot of differ- 
ence to any scrap. He took 
about six more before he hit 


the deck, and then he looked 
like a Belgian atrocity picture 
by Raemaekers. Bill came over 
to me and signalled his sister 
to the door. She moved off. 
My oath, she hadn't turned a 
hair she's a sportsman. He 
looked across at Miss Conron, 
who was still on the sofa 
looking at the huddled figure 
in the middle of the carpet. 
11 I'm going now, Hilda," he 
said; "your people aren't my 
people. I'm sorry." 

She never moved, but the 
colour had come back into her 
face again. Bill shrugged back 
his shoulders and turned his 
back, and we started for the 
door. Miss Dane was there, 
holding the handle and look- 
ing past us at the horrified 
group we had left. As we got 
almost up to her she smiled 
and came to Bill. She took 

H.M.S. . [Jan. 

him by the shoulders and 
turned him round, and I turned 
to see what she was looking 
at. Miss Conron was walking 
that sixty-foot plank after us, 
and I knew when I saw her 
face that she and Bill were 
going to be all right. She 
didn't say anything, and the 
four of us went out, and Bill 
kissed her in the hall in front 
of the servants. Trouble ? No 
not much. You see, Bill had 
had a scalp wound, and they 
put it all down to that. The 
draper -man didn't want to 
publish things much, and Miss 
Conron's father has got a bit 
of a pull. If he had no kick 
coming other people could 
shut up, and oh yes ! Sound 
as a bell he wouldn't have 
got married otherwise. But, 
by gum, his sister was right 
wasn't she ? 






THE more one saw of Meso- 
potamia, the more one longed 
for flowers and green shade. 
Daring all the fighting and 
waiting from Sheikh Saad to 
Shumran, during all the shiver- 
ing in the mud and sweltering 
in the sun and digging down 
to escape the hot flying dust, 
north by east of us there 
stood the bold flank of the 
Pusht-i-Kuh, snow-capped from 
the winter rains to the first 
week in May, and luring us 
with their deep gorges opening 
on to the plain. Up there one 
knew there must be flowers 
and meadows and trees, and a 
favourite topic in the Sannai- 
yat trenches in the hot weather 
was the hill-station we were 
going to build in the Pusht-i- 
Kuh after the war. I once 
skirted the range in an aero- 
plane near enough to see the 
sorub oak. My pilot was a keen 
mountaineer, and we were both 
oonsumedly home-sick after this 
glimpse of our desires when we 
flew back to the dull, monoton- 
ous dead flat by the Tigris. 

It was borne in on us more 
than once in Mesopotamia that 
altitude is life. When we left 
the baked deltaic mud, where 
for hundreds of square miles 
there is not a pebble, or a tree 
save the unsatisfying date- 
palm, and entered the low foot- 
hills less than a thousand feet 
above sea -level, we came to 
flowers. I was with the Jebel 
Hamrin Column that went to 
meet the Cossacks on the Per- 
sian borderland. The streams 

were white with water-butter- 
cup, and their banks starred 
with English flowers. As the 
vicious little shrapnel burst 
over us I felt the senselessness 
of war more than I had done 
for a whole year. In these iris- 
fields I had almost forgotten 
we were fighting. The great 
objective had been grasped 
and left behind. None of us 
could have felt very warlike. 
A blue sky, willows, a running 
stream, an English spring, 
banks bright with charlock, 
buttercups, clover, veronica, 
pimpernel, scarlet anemones 
glowing through the grass; 
beyond the stream a plain roll- 
ing up to a scalloped ridge of 
rock ; beyond this again, forty 
miles or more, the snows, and 
every promise of a flowering 
undulating country in between. 
It seemed hard on our men to 
have to go on attacking en- 
trenched positions after a lull 
like this. War carried out of 
the accursed dead plain, where 
it had become a normal kind of 
hell, into this green spot, seemed 
less a phase, more an eternal 
fact, than ever. 

I had not seen flowers since 
May 1916, when in the lull after 
the fall of Kut I wandered up 
the Karun river to Ahwaz, 
Maidan-i-Napthun,and Shuster. 
This district is reputed even by 
the Persians to be one of the 
most scorching fire-pits in Asia. 
Yet at the end of May in the 
ravines of the sweeping down- 
land under the Bakhtiari hills, 
the purple teazle, rows of fine 


Mountains, Flowers, and War. 


up -standing hollyhocks, and 
the magnificent spear - thistle 
were still flowering at 500 feet. 
Six weeks earlier the grass had 
been studded with narcissus, 
crocus, and anemone. We had 
left the deadness of the dun- 
coloured plain behind. Iguanas 
of all colours scurried through 
the grass in front of us, some 
of them red - throated as a 
pheasant. On the northern 
face of the Tul-i-Khayyat, 
where the ridge falls away to 
the Lehbarri plain in a series of 
platforms, like tiers in an am- 
phitheatre, we found larkspur, 
rocket, mullein, mignonette, 
scabious, salvia, convolvulus, 
borage, and the homely yarrow. 
It was not a question of lati- 
tude, for we were no farther 
north than Sheikh Saad, or 
of temperature, for the thermo- 
meter rose higher ; it was mere 
soil and elevation, and the 
little respite the shade of a 
cliff gives a plant in a day of 
fourteen hours of burning sun. 
Yet we were not a thousand 
feet above the sea. A little 
altitude is a great blessing, and 
any virtue one may have found 
in hills in peace-time 

Is doubled and doubled and doubled 

And squared and raised to the power 

of "n," 

for those who have passed 
eighteen months in the plains 
of Mesopotamia. 

Leave rules are generous 
in Force "D." In the hot 
weather most of us get off by 
relays to India, and of course 
one makes straight for the 
hills. One has a full month, 
and sometimes a few days 
thrown in, between disembark- 
ing and embarking at Bombay. 

After Mesopotamia the joys of 
civilisation are sweet. Even a 
train journey across the plains 
in July is delightful; and no 
one who knows Kashmir 
grudges the fifty- one hours by 
rail to Rawal Pindi. The 
motor run of 160 miles through 
Murree and up the Jhelum 
valley to Baramula is good; 
and when one wakes up in the 
morning in a butter cup -field 
and mounts one's pony and 
turns his head up the bridle- 
path to Baramula, one recap- 
tures the thrill one had as a boy 
on the first day of the holidays 
after the first term at school. 

The air is fresh and cool. 
One rides over the low plateau 
up into the firs and cedars, 
dips again to a stream, and up 
by a path like a steep English 
lane, where the wild roses fling 
their scent across the road. 
Then again to meadows and 
fields and villages where the 
walnuts and ohenars throw a 
generous shade. After a hue- 
less land of offence and nega- 
tion it is difficult to say 
whether colour or smell, or 
shadow or oooltb, or the com- 
ing back to long - forbidden 
familiar things pleases most. 
One is most sensible to the 
freshness of everything. It is 
the gentleness and sympathy 
in the touch of the mountain 
air that begets all the rest 
the life, the colour, the green 
shade, the sweet smells. Where 
this gentleness is not, as in 
Mesopotamia, there is death. 
Delicacy of colour and form 
and texture is born of it. In 
the flax-field by the side of the 
road you will find the gamut 
of blue in the flax and the 
borage, both flowers that steep 


Mountains, Flowers, and War. 


themselves in the sun, the 
lightest, clearest, filmiest blue 
of the iris of a young girl's eyes 
and the darkest blue of cobalt 
merging into purple. And the 
suooory grows at the edge of 
the field as at home, nature's 
stock blue, the primal elemental 
blue, spread everywhere as it 
should be in the image of stars, 
colour and form, like youth and 
beauty in one mould. 

I have often thanked God 
that I had a nodding unscien- 
tific acquaintance with plants 
as a boy, enough to tell the 
family of a flower at a glance 
without counting the stamens 
or dissecting it with a knife. 
This means that one finds old 
friends in mountains and 
meadows and woods all over 
the world, and one is never 
bored on a journey. At every 
step pleasant images and mem- 
ories rise, conjured up by 
shapes and smells. In half an 
hour on a Himalayan path one 
lives through many incarna- 
tions. Here is the pink lychnis 
that used to grow on the bank 
over the pool where one learnt to 
swim ; the white dianthus that 
one found on the cliff where 
one first saw the sea ; the yel- 
low agrimony that grew behind 
the cricket-field wall at school 
when strawberries were ripe. 
One is greeted by small obscure 
flowers that one has forgotten 
for years, and meets again 
with a feeling like remorse 
the dwarf willow-herb, the way- 
side verbena, the enchanter's 
nightshade, and that pleasant 
prim flower with the prim 
name, Prunella Vulgaris or self- 
heal, which used to cover the 
path in a certain wood that 
led to a house of delight. 

Soon the warmth has drawn 
out the smell of resin in the 
pine. Higher up in a clearing 
in the forest I dismounted and 
rolled on a bank of thyme with 
all the zest of a pony or an ass 

" That smells like dawn in Paradise." 

I hoped the many thousands 
who had " gone west " in 
France and Mesopotamia were 
smelling it ; for Paradise, if it 
is to be satisfying, must be 
earthy at least in its flowers 
and smells. There must be 
wallflowers and willow - herb 
and thyme and meadowsweet 
in the Elysian fields; for these 
we could well spare "the am- 
pler ether," "the diviner air," 
"the more pellucid streams." 
Plants of new design, un- 
familiar hues and scents, with 
no grateful associations re- 
miniscent of earth, can only 
live in a bad dream of Para- 
dise. They could not proceed 
from the God who fashioned 
the primrose and the wood- 
sorrel. If one believed in a 
divinity so dull to his good 
works one would be more 
afraid to die. For there can 
be nothing in the next incar- 
nation half so good as the 
smell of hot thyme or the reek 
of a hay field in this. 

It caused some amusement 
among my friends in Gulmarg 
that a man released from Meso- 
potamia, with the comforts of 
civilisation spread before him, 
should choose to go off into the 
wilderness and live in tents. 
But I met old friends who were 
starting on a trek in the Pir 
Panjal, and we carried a fair 
share of civilised comforts with 
us. Gulmarg lies in a cup and 


Mountains, Flowers, and War. 


is divested of flowers. The 
marg itself is deformed ; all of 
it that is not reserved for golf 
is covered with a warren of 
huts scattered haphazard like 
goods-sheds in a station siding. 
The place reminded me of 
Gnatong in Sikkhim after 
military occupation. Yet if you 
go to the edge of the cup and 
look over you will see the best 
of Kashmir. The station does 
not spoil the Pir Panjal, for it 
is only a caravanserai, and there 
is little danger of it spreading. 
In half an hour's walk you have 
left it behind. In the whole 
of the range from the Banihal 
pass to the Jhelum river there 
is not another bazaar or village 
on the marg level. 

Mountain-lovers, who are not 
mountaineers, will return again 
and again to the Pir Panjal. 
It is the one range in the 
Himalayas where the mountain 
slopes are not always on end, 
where one can gallop over 
downs of close-bitten turf and 
through forest glades. The 
margs, or meadows, lie on the 
northern side open plots with 
a margin of trees through which 
one can look down on the 
golden valley of Kashmir. 
Biding through the dark forest 
one enters a clear marshy space 
of emerald green, the colour of 
seedling rice, often with a bright 
pool in it cumbered by fallen 
and rotting trees. The marg 
is sometimes a little garden, an 
acre or less, walled by pines; 
sometimes a stretch of a mile 
or two of open rolling down, 
covered with thyme and 
marjoram and eyebright. No- 
body understands why the for- 
est leaves these glades alone 
and does not encroach. In the 

summer the Goojars or herds- 
men, gentle goatlike men with 
ape-like ears, drive their sheep 
and cattle up to graze from 
May to September, ascending 
or descending to different alti- 
tudes as the sun or snow 
compels them. In most of the 
large margs one comes across 
their low huts of horizontal 
pine logs rudely laid one upon 
the other. These are deserted 
in the winter. Half the charm 
of camping in the range is that 
there are no recognised bridle- 
paths or stages. The Goojars 
only know their own grazing 
grounds, and they will guide 
you from one to another, point- 
ing out the fords in the grey- 
bouldered beds of the torrents 
where the rooks have been 
moved aside to give their herds 
a passage. This makes for 
desultory travel. One may 
start with half a dozen different 
objectives. If the weather 
holds, one is drawn up to the 
ndgs or mountain tarns, or the 
jagged crest of the range where 
there are peaks for mountain- 
eers, Tatakuti or the Darhwal 
Dome topping 15,500 feet. If 
one runs into persistent rain, 
one ean plunge down into the 
plateaux of the Jhelum valley 
below the forest and the margs. 
Here one can generally count 
on sunshine and the delights 
of the most purely pastoral 
country in the Himalayas. 

My own bent after the Tigris 
valley was pastoral, but the 
lady who had instigated the 
trek was for ascending. Alpine 
flowers were her hobby, and I 
was content. The husband was 
all for easy stages. He ad- 
mitted to me that he would 
have given ten pounds to be 


Mountains, Flowers, and War. 


quit of the whole affair. Holi- 
day and peace of mind to him 
meant golf and bridge and the 
daily newspaper interspersed 
with hia particular research. 
Once a year he martyrised him- 
self by going camping with his 
wife, who had the soul of an 
explorer. He always swore that 
he would not do it again, and 
she always swore that she 
would not have him. But their 
ways were undivided. The 
fourth member of the party fell 

On the first day of our 
travels the sun shone. We left 
Gulmarg to the west, descend- 
ing 2000 feet into the valley 
of the Ferozepore stream among 
larkspur and mallow and warm- 
soented scabious. The path 
beyond led up through forest 
margs, rounded a spur, and 
emerged on the high sweeping 
downs that fall away from the 
main wall of the range. As 
we ascended, the whole forest, 
from 7000 to 9000 feet, was 
knee-deep in Jacob's Ladder, as 
blue a carpet as the wild 

"That seem the heavens upbreaking 
through the earth," 

but a lighter, more cerulean 

The man was for camping 
by a ruined tower, an ancient 
robbers' stronghold, whence one 
could look down on these azure 
fields and through the pines 
on to the plain. He had a 
great sympathy with the camp- 
followers, the servants and 
pony-men who abhor altitude, 
and to whose interest it is to 
halve stages. He was for 
heading for the valley, she for 
the hills. Having come to an 

attractive spot he was for 
pitching camp. " What could 
be better than this ? " he called 
out to Diana. " A lovely little 
marg ! your hard-driven slaves 
are tired." And he pointed 
out to her professorially the 
beauties of nature for which 
she had left a comfortable 
home, that golden hummock 
of buttercups it was really 
ragwort under the dark firs, 
the long row of sentinel mullein 
he called it yellow foxglove 
ranging down the cliff to the 
stream. No one who oared 
about flowers, he argued, could 
leave the spot for the uncertain 
beauties beyond. And it was 
such a good vantage-ground 
for retreat if it rained. We 
had left Gulmarg, the Club, 
the hotel, only one short march 

Here the Goojars, observing 
a weakness in the will-to-pro- 
gress of the party, came up 
and protested that beyond this 
spot there was no grass, no 
wood, no traek, that other 
Sahibs had camped here, and 
that if we went on the ponies 
would all die. To which Diana 
in her buckskins made suit- 
able reply. A little argument, 
a little coaxing, some delicate 
reproof, a few contemptuous 
words to the men; then she 
mounted and whipped her 
pony over the next knoll, down 
the dip, across the level plain 
and up the incline. Here she 
waited and watched under the 
mast pines for the first signs 
of the movement she had 
kindled. Soon Azizeh, the 
tiffin - basket coolie, clad in 
faded indigo, would appear 
over the rise, followed by the 
man with the lamps, and the 


Mountains, Flowers, and War. 


toothless Ancient of Days with 
his staff, and his look of cen- 
turies of slow resigned move- 
ment, imposed by some law 
which he was too gentle to 
resist. The caravan would 
slowly drag out its length 
again, tents and bedding, sky- 
pointing tables and chairs, 
valises, kerosene-oil tins, pots 
and pans, the husband some- 
where among them planting 
the point of his Khud stick in 
the turf with each deliberate 
step, moving a little less re- 
signedly than the Ancient of 
Days. He always yielded if 
there were a patch of blue, or 
a ray of sun. His dallyings 
were only moves in the game, 
the assertion of a philosophy 
to which he must be consistent 
in spirit even if he had 
abandoned it in fact. And so 
in a spirit of perverse banter 
he would coddle a malingerer, 
giving him his horse to ride, 
and listened with assumed 
credulity to the pretexts of the 
pony -men. Yet every evening 
by six o'clock the woman had 
pitched her camp where she 
intended, or not far short of 
it; and the man, once seden- 
tary, was reconciled. 

The first night out of Gul- 
marg we camped in the Vehinar 
marg among the junipers. 
Each low isolated patch was 
a flower-bed, bright with the 
purple spires of monkshood, 
the lovely white drooping col- 
umbine, the bluey-grey codon- 
opsis, the branching yellow 
inula ; the grey rock-beds of 
the little streams were avenues 
of the pink and red polygonum, 
and the thyme and eyebright 
disputed the turf. At sunset 
Diana and I were drawn up 

the slope to the edge of the 
mountain a mile to the north, 
and looked over. The whole 
valley of Kashmir was bathed 
in opal and amber and gold. 
But it was only for a few 
moments. The powers of dark- 
ness were getting the upper 
hand. The glow of silver on 
the Woolar lake under Hara- 
mokh faded to a dull lead. 
Soon " the purpureal gleams " 
of Erebus had dispossessed all 
light, and the thick blanket of 
cloud that had wrought the 
transformation was almost on 
our heads. We hurried back 
to the camp, little knowing 
that we had witnessed the last 
innings of the sun for five days. 

By the camp fire, which the 
rain had not extinguished, we 
found the man happily smok- 
ing. He was always happy 
when the question of locomo- 
tion was in abeyance, and he 
entertained us till late in the 
night with a flow of good talk. 
Antiquarian, socialist, educa- 
tionalist, economist, steeped in 
the Classics, yet a contemner 
of our public schools, he carried 
an encyclopaedia in his head 
that would have weighed down 
another pack-pony if we had 
brought it in volume form. 
His wisdom was borrowed from 
life and contact with men as 
much as from books; and 
though an analyist of human 
nature, he was more in love 
with Psyche than psychology. 
He found neither in the moun- 
tains, and our talk generally 
wandered far from the Pir 

The next day we crossed the 
Krag Nangal Pass in rain and 
camped in Toshmaidan. On 
the third morning the clouds 


Mountains, Flowers, and War. 


were thick and lowering after 
heavy rain all night, but at 
ten o'clock the sun had light- 
ened and almost penetrated the 
mist. We decided to go on, but 
it was twelve before themen had 
struck tents and caught and 
loaded the ponies. A tall, dark, 
inarticulate Goo jar of Tosh- 
maidan, without a word of Hin- 
dustani, guided us up to a sort 
of tunnel under the clouds 
which we understood was the 
pass. The other side of this 
range, the main backbone of 
the Pir Panjal, there are a 
number of unvisited or rarely 
visited lakes, which Diana was 
anxious to explore. They ap- 
pealed to her imagination, to 
her sense of adventure; they 
were the haunts of romance, 
the habitat of rare Alpine 
flowers, of late primulas and 
creamy saxifrage, of the blue 
oorydalis, and the great blue 
prickly poppy, which stands 
out of the rooks like a human 
figure visible across the valley. 
But the man oared nothing for 
wild vegetation. Even under 
a blue sky he preferred to 
imagine the poppies; on this 
grey morning his attitude 
was of a parent dutifully es- 
corting a child to some display 
that left him cold. The higher 
we went, the farther we left 
loveliness behind, and the 
gloomier was his spirit. My 
sympathies were divided. I 
had seen enough of desolation. 
It was not savagery in nature 
that I craved now. For two 
years I had been longing for 
the hills, but pastoral hills 
with flowers and grass and 
shadow of maple and scent of 
pine not this naked play- 
ground of the elements. Yet 

I remembered the fascination 
of high altitudes. Diana, com- 
ing straight out of civilisation, 
desired the starkness that had 
once attracted me more than 
grass lands or forest; and I 
was with her in her feeling 
that this obstinate buttress of 
matter must be defeated at all 
costs. It requires courage in 
man or woman to turn one's 
back on a pass when one has 
set one's face to it. 

As we got into the clouds 
out of the soaking drizzle, we 
entered a solid wall of rain. 
Our tents and bedding were 
sodden : the fuel we had taken 
up was barely enough for cook- 
ing, and we were to camp above 
the juniper limit. Everything 
pointed to a persistent tide of 
the monsoon. Nevertheless, 
Diana rode on with a rapt 
look in her face, happy in the 
capitulation of the body to the 
spirit. We waited for the 
husband under a rook, which 
instead of sheltering us con- 
spired with the rain in a deluge 
of waterspouts. Soon he ap- 
peared out of the mist. He 
was unconscious of any chal- 
lenge. The pass for him was 
merely a passage from bad to 
worse for the "hell" of his 
imagination was a cold and wet 
hell, a stony, misty, cheerless 
hell, in which one was always 
slipping or ascending. He 
faced Diana and asked her in 
tones charged with emotion to 
defend her philosophy. Was 
it flowers she sought? She 
had left them behind. Was it 
scenery? You would get as 
good a view if you put your 
head into a pail of smoke and 
water. Was it rheumatism or 
pneumonia? Here the camp 


Mountains, Flowers, and War. 


arrived, and added their moans 
to his declamation. Azizeh de- 
clared that only yesterday a 
man had died on the pass. 

Diana said little. Her point 
of view was that if you were 
out for a thing you had to take 
the bad with the good; to- 
morrow might be fine. Her 
small and delicate body, poised 
in the saddle as she leant 
against the wind searching 
vainly for some physical argu- 
ment to back her moral one, 
implied a lack of sporting 
instinct in the man who took 
his thwaokings so badly. But 
this was illogical. The man's 
mind pivoted on the dry rook 
of common-sense ; the question 
of victory or defeat had not 
entered his head; it was a 
question of an existence of 
relative sanity below the 
clouds, or a week in hell for 
fourteen human beings and as 
many beasts. Suddenly Diana 
yielded to his misery rather 
than his persuasion. Where- 
upon the man became the spur, 
fearing her after-scorn. He 
swore by the gods that he 
would "stick it out," that he 
would go on and "see it 
through." But the woman 
swung her pony's head down- 
hill. In a moment she was 
descending, he ascending and 
crying out " I am going on. I 
am going on." I stood between. 

My sympathies were with 
Diana. It was hard on her 
that she had not been born a 
boy; she looked one; in her 
breeches she reminded me of 
half a dozen young subalterns 
that I knew. Her relations, 
men and women, had shot, 
wandered, collected, and 
climbed all over the world 

yet for eleven months in the 
year her business was with 
babies. As the man's voice 
became fainter in the mist I 
feared a permanent breach, but 
I knew neither her nor him, 
nor the foundations on which 
this frail superstructure of 
antagonism was built. 

Diana consenting, I mounted 
and pursued the man, but he 
would not return at first, 
thinking that I was her 
messenger and accomplice, and 
playing a part. He pictured 
the ghost of Diana's thwarted 
desires sitting between them 
at meals in after years. But 
I repeated his own sentiments 
which I now shared with 
such conviction that he warmed 
to me. The excelsior business, 
we agreed, was insanity. These 
monsoon currents generally 
lasted ten days. Especially do 
they dog one with a persistent 
hate, after a long unnatural 
interval of calm such as we 
had enjoyed in the July of 
1917. We should not be able 
to see a yard in front of our 
faces, or to warm or dry our- 
selves at night; and the men 
would grouse all the while, 
and probably die or go sick 
out of spite. If it were Lhasa 
or Mecca, or Rima or Bagh- 
dad, or the Brahmaputra falls, 
it might be worth it, but a 
few dirty little lakes a bare 
three marches from Gulmarg ! 
Thus basely did I profane 
Diana's Elysian fields behind 
her back. 

So we descended, and to our 
joy the clouds rolled down 
behind us in pursuit, gathering 
in volume. If there had been 
any break or truce in them 
during the next few days, it 


Mountains, Flowers, and War. 


would have been an irony that 
two of us oould ill have borne. 

In the evening we were 
camped on a spur between two 
margs, where the roots of the 
pines gave us dry ground. We 
kept an enormous fire blazing 
in the shade, where we oould 
warm ourselves and dry our 
tents, and beds, and clothes. 
The smoke, a little bluer than 
the mist, hung over the 
Goo jars' oamp in the dip to 
the left, where they were cook- 
ing their meal on the yellow 
ragwort oarpet. The rain 
ceased to pelt, but above and 
below us we oould watch the 
sallies and hesitations of the 
storm and the clouds. A torrent 
thundered on our right, for a 
long time concealed until the 
curtain lifted slowly, unveiling 
the forest and the marg above 
it where the round patches of 
jumper recalled the dark-green 
house-leek growing on grey 
liohened tiles. The clouds rose 
higher, until a section of the 
main range was exposed under 
an arch of sky. We saw that 
we were camped under Tata- 
kuti (15,500 feet), a bold rook 
peak with a single band of 
snow bisecting it under a pro- 
tecting buttress. For a mo- 
ment we had a suspicion that 
it was going to clear, but the 
curtain fell again, rolling down 
the hill with a stage-like final- 
ity that reassured us. Far 
away to the north and east 
over the valley of Kashmir 
there was a sunlit patch of 
sky, which broadened and 
glittered and called us down 
to the plain. As it grew 
dark Diana and I watched 
the mountains anxiously and 

looked up at the bank of 
clouds, fearing a break in the 
grey. So long as the sullen 
canopy was spread over the 
hills, we knew that it had 
been God's veto and not the 

The night was still and 
heavy, but rainless. The 
sweet homely scent of wet 
elder entered our tents. The 
pines pierced the black roof 
of the sky over the oamp 
fire, beautiful mysterious dark 
columns merging into a vaguer 
blackness. We boiled our 
coffee, and smoked our pipes 
and cigarette, and basked in 
the blaze. The man and I 
talked. He told me some of 
his spiritual adventures. He 
too had been a wanderer, not 
in the mountains but in cities 
and plains in Turkey, Italy, 
and Greece, and the isles of 
the ^Egean unearthing an- 
tiquities, deciphering manu- 
scripts, checking the inaccu- 
racies of Strabo in Anatolia, 
a guest of the monks at 
Athos, reviling the declivity 
and the fleas. Oreophobia 
was a disease with him. The 
mountains were for animals, 
he said ; he liked his flowers 
tame ; and there was a dearth 
of interest in ground uncon- 
seorated by man. Above all, 
he hated gradients that would 
not submit to wheels. The 
woman spoke once or twice, 
addressing him as "As-is- 
easier," her adaptation in the 
comparative degree of the 
name of Azizeh, the tiffin- 
coolie, who always chose the 
easier part. The man ad- 
mitted a common Horatian 
sentiment shared with this 


Mountains, Flowers, and War. 


philosopher. "Video meliora 
proboque," he quoted, "dete- 
riora sequor." Diana doubted 
the seeing and approving of 
either; the downhill bias, she 
thought, was very apt. She 
quoted " The Grammarian's 
Funeral." Eaoh was the com- 
plement of the other, so there 
oould be no rift. 

The talk veered back to 
Athos, and thenoe to fleas, 
the man was sent to see that 
the pony-men had not put the 
paok-saddles under her bed, 
Greek fleas, Kashmir fleas, 
Greek and Kashmir wine, 
Greek degeneracy, the beauty 
of Greek and Kashmir women, 
the beauty of women in Gul- 
marg. Diana was silent, but 
palpably happy and reconciled. 
When at midnight she turned 
into her tent she scanned the 
heavens and murmured thank- 
fully, "Not a star." 

In spite of our investment 
by the clouds we enjoyed life 
in our camp on the ridge 
between the two margs. I 
was content, because we were 
camping in a eool green place 
thousands of miles from the 
desert, and the smell of a pine- 
wood fire invaded my tent. 
The man was happy because 
he had his books and he had 
not got to move, and Diana 
was happy because she had 
found some rare orchids and 
lousewort under the pines and 
had painted half a dozen 
unfamiliar species into her 
Himalayan diary, which had 
reached its fifth volume, and 
which was made up of illus- 
trations with nothing written 
in it except the names of the 
flowers and when and where 

they grew. She had the 
necessary love and cunning 
for this work, and each of 
her volumes was worth fifty 
collections of dead plants. 

But after two days and 
nights in the mist we plunged 
like sun-worshippers down the 
mountain-side on to the plateau 
a thousand feet above the 
Jhelum valley, where the vil- 
lages nestle in the folded bases 
of the hills embowered in trees, 
where every stream is a wil- 
low avenue and most garden 
walls a screen of slender white 
poplars, where brooks race 
through flowery meadows and 
the edges of the fields are 
borders of balsam, larkspur, 
and scabious. We came down 
through the forest into English 
flowers and English summer 
weather, into a clime where 
neither the sun nor the clouds 
had it all their own way, but 
where, as in Davidson's poem, 
the sun was adventurous, and 
the clouds scattered largesses 
of rain, and the generous issue 
of it was seen in the trees and 
crops and flowers. 

The villages we came to, 
lying mostly in the dips of 
the plateau on the banks of 
streams, are not on a path 
that leads anywhere. One 
would only enter them, flying 
from the hills as we did, plung- 
ing down into the plain by any 
haphazard route. Our sudden 
appearance sent the children 
flying into the corn ; the 
women took cover, or hid their 
faces ; the men regarded us as 
a passing show. The whole 
country was fat and fruitful. 
There were orchards and little 
water - mills everywhere. In 
many of the villages there 


Mountains, Flowers, and War. 


were Ziarats, or graves of 
Muhammadan saints, often a 
simple hummock in a stone 
enclosure like a pound, shad- 
owed by a great ohenar with 
a heronry in its boughs and a 
jackdaw's nest in its bole; 
sometimes a two-storied house, 
with fretted and painted win- 
dows, and hanging eaves also 
fretted, the upper floor cleared 
for prayer, and the roof a 
garden of irises, as are all 
flat roofs in Kashmir. The 
villagers' houses have the roofs 
of English barns. They are the 
most purely pastoral houses I 
know half granary, half byre, 
two- or three - storied. The 
third, and sometimes the second 
storey, supported by beams and 
pillars of brick, reveal the 
hoarded gleanings of the year 
stored in gigantic AH Baba 
jars of fireclay, seven feet 
high, reaching from the floor 
almost to the ceiling. The 
storey below the fowls share 
with the husbandman, the 
wife, the distaff, the teeming 
progeny; and under them, on 
the ground floor, are the cows. 
These high thatched roofs, with 
their open lofts and granaries, 
are visible for miles among the 
generous spreading ohenars. 

The country was so rich and 
flowery and fruitful that even 
Diana, who had come out to 
conquer solitudes, was content. 
The man fell under the spell of 
ordered, communal life. He 
pointed to pumpkins and crops 
and a row of hollyhocks in a 
village, flowers that had been 
planted with intention by the 
owner of the house. Diana 
smiled at his awakened in- 
terest in plants, at his prefer- 
ence for the man-fed product. 

" I believe you'd prefer a 
pumpkin to a gentian," she 

The man defended the claims 
of the pumpkin with Aristo- 
telian logic. He admitted that 
the gentian was a stranger to 
him, but he made a good case 
for the vegetable. Then he 
said that he liked wild flowers, 
but that " it spoilt them know- 
ing their names," and Diana 
and I were down on him like 
a ton of bricks. A lover of 
flowers, yet not interested in 
them enough to distinguish 
their names ! A man who 
was content with humanity in 
the bulk might as well call 
himself a lover of people. 

Flowers, Diana argued, like 
people, are endeared to us by 
their ways, their oddities, their 
personalities, their habits. It 
is impossible to enjoy them 
without knowing their names. 
She pointed to a meadow by 
a stream. " Just flowers," she 
remarked scornfully. " A 
pleasing blotch of colour to 
the eye. No soul OP indi- 
viduality in them." 

The man repeated that he 
was content with the general 
effect. It was "distinctly de- 
corative." To him all the 
associations of texture, touch, 
habit, fragrance went for 
nothing. Diana, as she rode 
past, was aware of the downi- 
ness of the mullein, the musk- 
like smell that dwells in the 
stalk of the giant inula and 
issues like a protest if you 
bruise it, the virginal shrink- 
ing delicacy in flower and 
seed of the balsam the seed 
that will spring from you like 
a grasshopper at the lightest 
touch of the finger. The smell 


Mountains, Flowers, and War. 


and touch of these flowers 
afforded her delightful intim- 
acies. The man saw the yellow 
mass of buttercups, potentil, 
St John's -wort, as one sees 
humanity in a crowd, unin- 
dividualised, whether brown, 
white, or yellow. Diana could 
tell at a hundred yards that 
the buttercup which chose 
that particularly marshy soil 
by the stream would be very 
erect, and would have spear- 
shaped leaves growing up the 
stalk, unlike other buttercups ; 
she knew that if she held up 
the St John's -wort to the 
sky she would see the blue 
through a thousand little per- 
forations in the leaf, only if 
the stalk were square and not 
round, the leaf would be 
opaque; and she knew the 
ways of the scarlet potentilla 
(Nepalensis), the loveliest eye 
in the meadow, which has 
shades one finds in the raiment 
of saints in stained-glass win- 
dows, and sometimes in the 
skirt of a Kashmiri woman, 
but rarely in other flowers. 
She picked one with white at 
the base of the petals. This 
she knew was only an expres- 
sion of individual mood, and 
had nothing to do with fam- 
ilies or species. "Just like 

Diana returned to the 
analogy of flowers and people. 
Fancy going through life and 
thinking of men and women, 
if one thought of them separ- 
ately at all, by a vague de- 
scriptive formula. " You don't 
want to know their names," 
she said to the man. "You 
might say the same about 
people and pretend you oared 

for them. Besides, the names 
themselves are beautiful." And 
she reminded him of an early 
infatuation. "Fancy, if you 
wanted to recall Daphne, 
speaking of her as ' that 
plump girl with the engaging 
freckles and the corn- coloured 
hair that I took into dinner 
at X's!'" 

All day long the truth of 
Diana's argument was borne 
in upon me. It might be 
literally accurate, but it would 
be spiritually untrue to say 
that to Diana's senses the 
rose would swell as sweet by 
another name. Certainly the 
thyme and willow-herb and 
meadowsweet would lose half 
their fragrance under an alias. 
And colour would fade, too, 
without the intimacy that 
names suggest. I agreed with 
Diana that even the Latin 
names of flowers are beautiful 
and suggestive. Yet one is 
sometimes taxed with pedantry 
for being familiar with them. 
What oeuld be better than 
Impatiens noli me tangere for 
the balsam? Who could be 
indifferent to Circcea, the 
enchanter's nightshade, when 
it has been pointed out to him 
by name, or the Chrysosplenium 
in the bed of the mountain 
stream? There are dainty, 
modest, inconspicuous flowers 
whose individuality would be 
unremembered or forgotten 
altogether without their Latin 

The man missed much in 
the mere associations which 
flowers evoke in the same way 
as music and smells. He did 
not know that he had been 
stumbling through Daphne in 


Mountains, Flowers, and War. 


the forest all the way down 
from the camp on the marg. 
And now, as we descended 
farther into the plain, we met 
the homely water-flowers that 
grow in the bed or on the 
banks of every English stream 
meadowsweet, loosestrife, 
arrowhead, water - plantain, 
even Butomus, the flowering 
rush. The bows of his boat 
must often have nosed them 
on the Isis and the Cher, but 
he was greeted by no familiar 
spirits blowing their elfin 
horns, waking echoes, con- 
juring up the old haunts, the 
old delights, the old desires. 

Other voices were calling 
him. As we descended, the 
man became a thruster, a 
pioneer. He was the engine 
now, not the brake. He 
hustled the servants, and blew 
impatient shrill blasts on his 
whistle summoning the Goojars 
to strike camp. He loosened 
the tent pegs and lent a hand 
at loading the ponies. He was 
for long marches and early 
starts. His companions were 
provokingly, maliciously dila- 
tory. On the last morning he 
almost pulled the tent about 
Diana's ears as she was paint- 
ing an uncommon balsam in 
her diary. 

Gulmarg received us under a 
sky still mercifully leaden and 
forbidding, emphatic in its 
veto. We arrived sodden and 
content. We had been wise 
we had sought the sun where 
we could find it; and now 
that it was nowhere to be 
found, we were back again by 
a log fire under a roof. In 
the last march Diana had 
found more flowers than she 

could paint in two days; the 
man's spirits had risen as he 
forsook the vertical for the 
horizontal ; but I was probably 
the best content of the three. 
After Mesopotamia I desired 
Arcadia, and the bad weather 
had driven us down into the 
haunts of pastoral peace. 
It was like a plunge from 
Nietzsche to Theocritus, and 
we had camped among the 
only people I had met since 
1914 who were not destroying, 
or directly or indirectly aiding 
destruction, or mending what 
others destroyed, who were not 
even aware of the disease of 

The man and I had fallen 
into the pre-Georgian way of 
looking at peaks he because 
of their associations with dis- 
comfort, I because I did not 
find in them the true and per- 
fect antithesis of Mesopotamia. 
The antithesis of outline and 
feature was not enough. I 
craved for the antithesis of 
spirit, not merely a vertical 
instead of a flat desolation. 
Bare mountain-tops will never 
appear frightful and depress- 
ing again as they did to our 
ancestors. Yet among the 
changes wrought by the war 
in the human spirit there may 
come a preference for the 
sylvan and pastoral upper 
places. We loved wildness 
when there was peace, and 
sought it. Now we have had 
our fill of savagery, it will 
not be strange if a bias enters 
our spirit and turns us from 
what is wild and wasteful in 
nature to the old Arcadian 
haunts of Pan and the 







IN the history of the War, 
as it now unfolds itself, sur- 
prise follows surprise, and the 
sudden defection of Lord 
Lansdowne was assuredly un- 
expected by all save those 
who had sat in the Cabinet 
with him. That a Minister 
who had led the Tory Party 
in the House of Lords, who 
had in the past defended the 
causes of Union and Fiscal 
Reform with a persuasive logic, 
should become the acknow- 
ledged friend and colleague of 
Mr Ramsay Maodonald and 
his German friends, of Mr 
Snowden and Mr Angell (or 
Lane), might have astonished 
even those who are accustomed 
to the vagaries of politicians. 
The letter itself is the most 
mischievous that has yet ap- 
peared in the press. Ib was 
published at the moment most 
opportune for Germany, when 
the collapse of Russia and the 
victory snatched by treachery 
in Italy were filling our foes 
with a new confidence. It 
met with a success which not 
even Lord Lansdowne can 
have anticipated : it instantly 
sent up the value of the mark. 
For the rest, no word of 
wisdom or statesmanship is 
spoken in it. It is the common 
tangle of loose thought and 
careless contradiction, to which 
the pro-Germans and Pacifists 
all the world over have accus- 

tomed us. Lord Lansdowne 
says that "we want to inflict 
a signal defeat upon the Cen- 
tral Powers," and then incon- 
tinently suggests terms of 
peace favourable to their aims 
and ambitions. He has the 
effrontery, using Pitt's word 
and not Pitt's sense, to say 
that we demand security, and 
then whittles his " security " 
down to nothingness. Does 
he remember what Pitt said, 
when Tierney defied him to 
state, in one sentence, what 
was the object of the War? 
" I know not," retorted the 
Minister, " whether I can do 
it in one sentence ; but in one 
word I can tell him that it is 
security security against a 
danger, the greatest that ever 
threatened the world. It is 
a security against a danger 
which never existed in any 
past period of society. It is 
security against a danger . . . 
which threatens all the na- 
tions of the earth; against a 
danger which has been resisted 
by all the nations of Europe, 
and resisted by none with so 
much success as by this nation, 
because by none has it been 
resisted so uniformly and with 
so much energy." That is the 
security which all the Allies 
desire, and it can be obtained 
not by the weak and paltry 
compliance suggested by Lord 
Lansdowne, but by a victory, 


The Defection of Lord Lansdowne. 


final and complete, obtained 
from the Germans on the field 
of battle. 

And Lord Lansdowne, with- 
out a reproach to the Germans 
for their broken faith and 
frank brutality, is ready to 
enter into negotiations with 
them. He would grant them 
as many "scraps of paper" to 
tear up as their cynicism could 
demand. He will give them 
the "freedom of the seas," for 
which a century ago we fought 
for twenty years, and will let 
them have all the commercial 
privileges which their greed 
and egoism deem indispensable. 
Not a place in the sun, but all 
the sun, and the shadow for 
the subject races to crawl in 
when the Germans permit their 
furtive movements! If these 
infamous proposals had been 
sketched in a pamphlet by a 
silly ignorant pacifist, the pam- 
phlet would most justly have 
been suppressed, and the paci- 
fist would have repented of his 
temerity in jail. And Lord 
Lansdowne's crime against the 
State is far heavier than 
any crime which an ignorant 
pacifist could commit. He has 
been the leader in the House of 
Lords of a great party. He 
has been Secretary of State for 
Foreign Affairs. He speaks 
with the authority lent him 
by the high offices which he 
has held. He is powerful to 
do harm, because in the past 
his fellow - countrymen have 
trusted him. 

His power of doing evil is 
far greater abroad than at 
home. In France and America 
it is the Foreign Minister who 
speaks and speaks, as they 

think, with the weight of 
public opinion. At home we 
know better. Lord Lansdowne 
speaks only for himself, and 
must be content with such 
fulsome praise as 'The Daily 
News' can spill upon him. 
Moreover, he and his kind are 
not unfamiliar in England. 
We have never been engaged 
in a great war without dis- 
covering open or covert sym- 
pathisers with the enemy in 
the houses of the Whigs. And 
no better parallel for the de- 
fection of Lord Lansdowne can 
be found than that afforded 
by his ancestor, the first Lord 
Lansdowne, better known as 
Lord Shelburne. Here is a 
clear ease of atavism. No 
sooner did the French revolu- 
tionaries declare war upon 
England than Lord Shelburne 
we will use this title to save 
confusion was hot in opposi- 
tion to his own country. He 
was wholly regardless of the 
plain truth that it was France 
which declared war. He was 
sure that, if France had not 
declared it, England would 
have, and therefore alone was 
to blame. That is a typical 
argument which has never 
failed to satisfy the Whigs. 
"The war," said Lord Shel- 
burne, " is a metaphysical war ; 
it was declared against France 
on account of her internal cir- 
cumstances, for the particu- 
lar complaints made against 
the French Government might 
have been settled by negotia- 
tion, and did not in any case 
afford a ground for hostilities." 
There is an ingenious network 
of misstatements. All wars 
are metaphysical, if you will 


Musings without Method. 


that is to say, they involve 
an opposition of opinions and 
philosophies. But this war of 
1793 was so far from meta- 
physics at the outset that it 
began, as the present war 
began, by the open violation 
of a treaty. No amount of 
negotiation would have pre- 
vented the French from open- 
ing the Scheldt in defiance of 
solemn undertakings, and had 
we not opposed them we should 
have been guilty of conniving 
at the tearing up of a scrap 
of paper. But Lord Shelburne 
advocated a policy of rigid 
non-intervention, and thought 
that he could serve his country 
best by embarrassing Pitt in 
the conduct of the war. 

Thus he played the familiar 
game of the Whigs. Though 
England was fighting for her 
life, he "still insisted that the 
true course for the Govern- 
ment to pursue was to per- 
severe in the cause of parlia- 
mentary and economic reform, 
which they had originally 
marked out for themselves." 
He opposed with all his might 
the Traitors' Correspondence 
Bill and the suspension of the 
Habeas Corpus. He fought 
untiringly for the rebels, who 
took advantage of their coun- 
try's stress. He was sure 
that "Pitt was engaged in 
a hopeless struggle, but re- 
fused to recognise the fact," 
and happily for himself he 
did not live to witness the 
triumph of the English arms. 
With all his ingenuity, which 
was considerable, he supported 
the cause of England's enemies. 
He was indignant that food 
and provisions should be 

brought within the category 
of contraband. "Was it pos- 
sible," he asked, "to prevent 
America carrying any kind of 
goods as a neutral nation?" 
With what warmth he would 
have welcomed Napoleon's 
doctrine of "the freedom of 
the seas," dear to his descen- 
dant, or Sir Edward Grey's 
Declaration of London! Any 
one who defied the power of 
king and parliament in a time 
of stress was his friend. 
When, in 1795, there were 
cries in the street of " No war ! 
No Pitt!" and George III. 
was fired at by a miscreant, 
Lord Shelburne found nothing 
better to say than that "the 
attack was an alarm bell to 
terrify the people into weak 
compliances," that "it was a 
scheme planned and executed 
by Ministers themselves for 
the purpose of continuing 
their power." In brief, he 
showed himself the complete 
Whig, as the complete Whig 
has spoken and acted since 
the beginning. And all the 
while he worked for peace. 
The worst excesses of the 
enemy, his most insolent de- 
mands, did not perturb him. 
Peace he must have peace 
with dishonour, such as his 
descendant looks for, if that 
was the only kind to be ob- 

At last, in 1801, peace came, 
and this is what Lord Shel- 
burne wrote to Lord Holland : 
u I am impatient to drink the 
French Consul's health now 
that we may do it safely and 
honourably, and thanks to him 
for granting us peace, no mat- 
ter what it is." Surrender 


President Wilson's Message. 


could not be more humble. 
Lord Shelburne had fought 
long and loyally for the French 
Consul's cause, and he was 
content to accept whatever 
terms were flung to him, like 
a bone to a dog. Would Lord 
Lansdowne, we wonder, drink 
the Kaiser's health with an 
equal fervour, if the Kaiser 
undertook to make "incom- 
plete reparation," to grant a 
momentary security, and to 
accept in exchange "a place 
among the great commercial 
communities of the world," to- 
gether with the coveted boon 
of "the freedom of the seas"? 
The terms which Lord Lans- 
downe offers are no less gen- 
erous than those which were 
welcomed by Lord Shelburne. 
Lord Shelburne saw his terms 
rejected, and knew before he 
died that the Peace of Amiens 
was illusory as it was fraud- 
ulent. Lord Lansdowne will 
have no better fortune than 
his great-grandfather. In vain 
has he done a wanton injury 
to the Allied cause. The spirit 
of England was stronger and 
better than the Lansdowne of 
that day. It is stronger and 
better than the Lansdowne 
who has now darkened coun- 
sel by speaking with the voice 
of the Bolshevist. The truth is 
that the politician too often for- 
gets the untimeliness of what he 
says and does. There are words 
and deeds which, merely silly 
in time of peace, are obviously 
dangerous in time of war. It 
is possible that Lord Lans- 
downe, trained in the business 
of politics for nearly half a 
century, has lost his sense of 
proportion. But if he were 

at all conscious of what he 
said in his letter, then he 
chose the hour at which he 
could inflict the worst injury 
upon his native land. Ex- 
cuses will be found for him; 
excuses are always found for 
political ineptitude. 

We owe a debt of gratitude to 
President Wilson for proclaim- 
ing once more, at the right 
time, the aims and purposes of 
the Allies. His message to Con- 
gress is clear and unequivocal. 
It deals not with polities but 
with realities, and it should be 
read and re-read by all those 
who still harbour a doubt as 
to the ultimate defeat of the 
Germans. At the very outset 
President Wilson makes a plain 
statement, all the more wel- 
come after Lord Lansdowne's 
muddled proposals. " Our ob- 
ject is, of course, to win the 
war," he says, "and we shall 
not slacken nor suffer ourselves 
to be diverted until it is won." 
He brushes aside with a ges- 
ture of indignation the peace- 
monger and pro -German who 
would help the cause of the 
enemy. "As a nation," he 
declares, "we are united in 
spirit and intention. I pay 
little heed to those who tell me 
otherwise. I hear the voices of 
dissent who does not ? I hear 
the criticism and the clamour 
of the noisily thoughtless and 
troublesome. I also see men 
here and there fling them- 
selves in impotent disloyalty 
against the calm indomitable 
power of the nation. I hear 
men debate peace who under- 
stand neither its nature nor 
the way in which we may 
attain it, with uplifted eyes 


Musings without Method. 


and unbroken spirits. But I 
know that none of these speak 
for the nation. They do not 
touch the heart of anything. 
They may safely be left to 
strut their uneasy hour and 
be forgotten.'" That is the 
best answer that can be given 
to the ill-omened sentimentali- 
ties of Lord Lansdowne. 

Nor does President Wilson 
shrink from the consequences 
of his high resolve. He is 
ready to support his stalwart 
words with stalwart deeds. 
"Our present and immediate 
task," he repeats, "is to win 
the war, and nothing shall 
turn us aside from it until it 
is aooomplished. Every power 
and resource we possess, whether 
of men, of money, or of ma- 
terials, is being devoted, and 
will continue to be devoted, to 
that purpose until it is achieved. 
. . . We shall regard the war 
as won only when the German 
people says to us, through pro- 
perly accredited representatives, 
that it is ready to agree to a 
settlement based upon justice 
and a reparation of the wrongs 
their rulers have done." These 
words should remove any hope 
that may linger in the minds 
of German optimists of an early 
and fortunate peace. The 
Americans will not draw back, 
the French will not draw 
back, the British will not 
draw back, until we are all 
assured of real security and 
real reparation, not of the 
poor security and the incom- 
plete reparation which will 
satisfy Lord Lansdowne. The 
struggle may take a long time 
yet for its finishing. We must 
face the possibility of two more 

years warfare with courage and 
cheerfulness. There are those 
who say that two more years of 
fighting will bring ruin upon 
the world, and Lord Lans- 
downe is among them. A far 
deeper ruin, because irreparable, 
would be the peace sketched 
by our anxious busybodies a 
peace which would enable the 
Germans to prepare for the 
next war with an assured con- 
fidence of victory. The conduct 
of the Germans before the war 
and during the war has as- 
sured us sufficiently that we 
cannot make terms with them 
as with decent adversaries. 
President Wilson sets this argu- 
ment before us with excellent 
lucidity the vigorous, rapid, 
and successful prosecution of 
the war. "We can do this 
with all the greater zeal and 
enthusiasm," says he, "because 
we know that for us this is a 
war of high principle ; because 
we know, and all the world 
knows, that we have been forced 
into it to save the very institu- 
tions we live under from de- 
struction and corruption. The 
purposes of the Central Powers 
strike straight at the very 
heart of everything we believe 
in; their methods of warfare 
outrage every principle of hu- 
manity and of knightly honour; 
their intrigue has corrupted 
the very thought and spirit 
of many of our people; their 
sinister and secret diplomacy 
has sought to take our very 
territory away from us and 
disrupt the union of the State. 
Our safety would be at an end, 
our honour for ever sullied and 
brought into contempt, were 
we to permit them to triumph." 


Prose and Verse. 


The Allies will not permit the 
Germans to triumph, and the 
sooner the peaoemongers oease 
to interrupt us in the perform- 
ance of a just duty the sooner 
will the war be over. 

An eminent poet onoe de- 
scribed poetry as "the stuff 
which poets write." An ex- 
cellent definition, complete and 
satisfying. We know what a 
poem is when we see it ; we 
can recognise prose also by its 
shape and form; and we are 
content to go no further than 
the poet's own definition. But 
the simple method of separat- 
ing poetry from prose by form 
alone does not please the critics, 
and for many years we have 
been presented with new defini- 
tions and new differences. One 
reason for this display of in- 
genuity has been, we think, the 
desire of excluding Pope and 
the poets of the eighteenth 
century from the list of poets. 
The controversy has raged 
ever since Warton, and is not 
finished yet. But, in any case, 
the reason given is unjust and 
insufficient, and Pope will sur- 
vive with Horace, in the first 
rank of poets until the end of 

However, Sir Henry Newbolt 
has no doubts. In his 'New 
Study of English Poetry' he 
asks the question, "What is 
Poetry?" And he answers it 
with an unwavering dogmat- 
ism. "We have fostered a 
delusion," he says, "the very 
common belief that prose is 
prose and verse is verse, that 
the essential difference is the 
difference of form, not of sub- 
stance." The "delusion" is 

common, and, we believe, no 
delusion at all. Prose is prose 
and verse is verse, each a 
beautiful and delicate art, 
which obeys its own rules 
and wins its own triumphs. 
But if verse is not verse and 
prose is not prose, what are 
they? "Poetry," says Sir 
Henry Newbolt, "is the ex- 
pression in human language 
of our intuitions : prose is the 
expression of our judgments." 
Accordingly, from what he 
calls "prose," he would ex- 
clude all emotion. " The ' real ' 
world," says he, " the world 
of reason, of prose, has of its 
own nature no passion, no 
humour, no true drama." It 
follows from this that " a 
novel is essentially poetry"; 
and he quotes in support 
the faet that 'Tom Jones' 
has often been called an epio 
as indeed it has, but he 
might have added that it is 
so called by way of metaphor. 
Even if we accepted Sir 
Henry Newbolt's argument 
and we do not accept it we 
should find his definition far 
too narrow. If we say that 
poetry is merely an expression 
of intuitions, we should ex- 
clude nearly all the poets that 
ever lived from Parnassus. 
What becomes of Matthew 
Arnold's saying, "criticism of 
life," if judgments be forbidden 
to poets? Surely criticism 
judgment is not intuition. 
And are Shakespeare and 
Dumas, Wordsworth and 
Shelley, to take a few 
examples, merely expressing 
their " intuitions " in human 
language? Have not know- 
ledge and research, philosophy 


Musings without Method. 


and judgment, all been oon- 
oerned in the making of their 
works? We think that they 
have, and we look about us 
in vain for poets amiable 
enough to fit the definition 
which Sir Henry Newbolt has 
framed for them. And, in- 
deed, he does not seem to 
hold very fast to his own 
definition. Having assured us 
that verse is not verse and 
that prose is not prose, he 
tells us also that "poetry is 
more akin to danoing than to 
song," and fails to explain by 
what tie the novel, which he 
calls poetry, is related to the 
dance. Nor does he in his 
book use " poetry " in the new 
sense of his own definition. 
He admits that "prosody, or 
metric law, there must be to 
save the gesture from becom- 
ing invertebrate " ; and the 
rhythm which he discusses 
is appropriate only to what 
the world has always recog- 
nised as poetry. Apply it to 
the novel, and it has no mean- 
ing ; apply it to the eloquence 
of Sir Thomas Browne, and it 
is wholly irrelevant. Thus Sir 
Henry is driven back upon the 
old sound convention, which 
he further strengthens by 
choosing all his examples from 
writers whose title of poet 
has never been disputed. We 
might have understood his 
new study of poetry better 
if he had mingled what we 
know as prose and verse for 
the purpose of illustration. 
He has not done this, and we 
are forced to think that he 
is not wholly confident of his 
own definition. 

The truth is that the real 

essential of poetry is metre. 
Those who would judge litera- 
ture by its subject and not 
by its form will land them- 
selves in a bog of confusion 
and prejudice. Incidentally, 
they will demand that we 
should re-write all the books 
that have ever been written 
upon the art of letters. Prose 
and verse have an intelligi- 
ble and authoritative meaning. 
There is bad verse and bad 
prose, but if there be metre 
for good or evil, there is poetry. 
It is bad poetry when it is 
not intense and vivid in ex- 
pression, but it is unfair to 
burden prose with the sins 
and failings of second-rate 
poets. It is not great poetry 
when it is obviously argumen- 
tative ; it is not great prose 
either. But metre is the di- 
viding line, and metre is not 
" mere decoration " ; it belongs 
originally to the ear and mind 
of the writer. The stuff which 
Pope wrote, for instance, was 
poetry, because he wrote in 
verse, and he must be tried 
by the standard which he 
chose for himself. 

As we have said, the chief 
reason why critics have in- 
vented new definitions of prose 
and poetry is that they have 
wished to exclude Pope and 
the "classics" from the com- 
pany of the poets. The at- 
tempt was made at the very 
outset of the Romantic move- 
ment. Pope was as reticent 
about nature as were the 
Greeks, who loved the world 
about them no less because 
they understood the proper 
use of a background. It was 
thought that Pope showed an 


Coleridge's Definition of Poetry. 


exclusive interest in "the 
manners and characters of 
refined society," and he was 
not permitted to hide behind 
the august precedent of Horace, 
who himself was no better than 
a classic. It was the excellent 
Joseph Warton who led the 
attack, with moderation, for 
the most part, and good sense. 
At the outset he was so far 
from denying Pope the name of 
poet, that he placed him " next 
to Milton and above Dryden." 
Here is what he says in his 
preface: "I love the memory 
of Pope, I respect and honour 
his abilities; but I do not 
think him at the head of his 
profession. In other words, in 
that species of poetry wherein 
Pope excelled, he is superior to 
all mankind : and I only say 
that this species of poetry is 
not the most excellent one of 
the art." That is a perfectly 
clear and reasonable statement. 
Pope's species is not the most 
excellent. It would be idle to 
compare him with Shakespeare 
or Milton, with Coleridge or 
Wordsworth, with Keats or 
Shelley. But he achieved the 
end at which he aimed with an 
easy mastery, and it is absurd 
to deny him the name of poet. 
If he be denied, then Horace 
and Juvenal and Boileau him- 
self must be shut out from the 
paradise of fame. 

However, Joseph Warton, 
not content with doing a simple 
justice to Pope, blundered pres- 
ently into a suggestion that 
perhaps after all Pope was 
something less than a poet. So 
with the triumph of the Ro- 
mantic Movement, Pope fell 
deeper into the pit of obloquy, 

and suffered almost as much 
from the indiscretion of friends 
as from the acrimony of foes. 
Coleridge, indeed, like the poor 
critic that he was, repented 
him of an adverse opinion. " I 
was not blind to the merits of 
this school," he wrote in his 
' Biographia Literaria,' "yet as 
from inexperience of the world, 
and consequent want of sym- 
pathy with the general subjects 
of the poems, they gave me little 
pleasure, I doubtless under- 
valued the kind, and with the 
presumption of youth withheld 
from its masters the legitimate 
name of poets." An honest 
confession, truly! Nor will 
those for whom the words 
" prose " and " verse " are mere 
delusions find much comfort in 
Coleridge's definition. " If the 
definition sought for," he wrote, 
" be that of a legitimate poem, 
I conceive it must be one the 
parts of which mutually sup- 
port and explain each other; 
all in their proportion harmon- 
ising with and supporting the 
known influences of metrical 
arrangement." That definition 
would suit Pope's works per- 
fectly. It would not suit any 
novel that has ever been 

The desire, which many 
critics acknowledge, a desire 
which we suspect is shared by 
Sir Henry Newbolt, to ex- 
clude the admirable work of 
the eighteenth century from 
the true body of English 
poetry, was encouraged also by 
Matthew Arnold, who asserted 
that Dryden and Pope "are 
not the classics of our poetry, 
they are classics of our prose." 
Dryden, to be sure, was a 


Musings without Method. 


classic of our prose, which he 
fashioned into the instrument 
which we know to-day. To us 
he seems also a classic of our 
poetry, and if Pope wins not 
his place by his poetry, he wins 
it not at all. The translation 
of Homer, defective though it 
may be as an English version, 
is assuredly not a thing of 
prose or reason. Who shall 
reduce "The Rape of the Lock " 
to the level of a prosaic rule ? 
In the kingdom of poetry are 
many mansions, and not even 
the authority of Matthew 
Arnold shall oust Pope and 
Dryden from the honoured, if 
humbler, places which they 
hold by the side of Shake- 
speare, Milton, and the rest. 
Moreover, it is not without 
significance that Coleridge 
found the same fault with 
Wordsworth which Matthew 
Arnold and others have found 
with Pope and Dryden. He dis- 
covered a " matter-of-faotness " 
in certain poems. "To this 
accidentality I object," he wrote, 
"as contravening the essence 
of poetry, which Aristotle pro- 
nounces to be (TTrov&aioTarov 
/cal <j)i\o(7o^)(t)Tarov 76^09, the 
most intense, weighty, and 
philosophical product of human 
art!" There it is, Matthew 
Arnold's own favourite quota- 
tion ! Shall we then, on the 
double authority of Arnold and 
Coleridge, bracket Pope and 
Wordsworth as exponents of 
the matter-of-fact? 

For Sir Henry Newbolt 
poetry is a word of praise, 
prose is a word of blame, 
and he shows the bent of 
his mind by describing novels 
as "essentially poetry," even 

though they contain a large 
amount of prosaic detail and 
reflections by the author. Here, 
as it seems to us, he gives his 
case away completely. He 
would even admit among poems 
the sad works of M. Zola, the 
offal of unnumbered note-books, 
confessing at the same time 
that they are " less poetical " 
than Mr Hardy's novels, as 
indeed they are. But poems 
he believes them to be, and 
thus does them more than 
justice. On the other hand, 
he is wholly unjust to the 
writers of great prose who 
have written no novels, and 
yet have regarded their busi- 
ness as a delicate art. He is 
guilty of the double sin of 
inclusion and of exclusion. 
Now prose is an art, wholly 
separate from the art of verse, 
governed by different rules and 
shaped by different purposes. 
Aristotle explained the differ- 
ence once and for always, 
when he defined prose as being 
" without metre and not with- 
out rhythm." With that de- 
finition in our mind we can 
take an understanding pride 
in the progress of our English 
prose. We need give it no 
false name. It does not 
masquerade as poetry, which 
it is not. Nor is it, at its 
highest, a mere expression of 
reason or argument. It is 
prose, which keeps within its 
own limits, and which demands 
that it should be tried by its 
own standard, and not by the 
standard of poetry. By the 
form which governs it, not by 
the subject which animates it, 
it asks to be tested. And it 
has lived a flourishing life, 


The Value of Tradition. 


apart from poetry, for many 

Look where you will in our 
prose, and you will find a 
rhythm and a beauty which 
are not the rhythm and beauty 
of verse. Prose may be trans- 
lated into verse, or verse into 
prose, and each take on a new 
shape and form. Turn to 
North's 'Plutarch,' which is 
a work not of intuition but 
of translation, and note how 
Shakespeare lifted the splendid 
prose of North into the higher 
realm of his poetry. Or in the 
other direction compare the 
august entrance of Dalila in 
"Samson Agonistes": 

" But who is this, what thing of Sea 

or Land ? 

Female of sex it seems, 
That so bedecked, ornate and gay, 
Comes this way, sailing 
Like a stately ship 

With all her bravery on, and tackle 

Sails filled, and streamers waving," 

compare this, we say, with 
Congreve's modest prose : 
"Here she comes i' faith, full 
sail, with her fan spread and 
her streamers out, and a shoal 
of fools for tenders; ha, no, I 
ory her mercy!" The sub- 
stance is the same in either 
case, but prose and verse each 
finds his proper shape. And 
if you would contemplate prose 
of another quality, open the 
works of Sir Thomas Browne 
at random, and light upon 
this : " But the iniquity of 
oblivion blindly soattereth her 
poppy, and deals with the 
memory of men without dis- 
tinction to merit of perpetuity. 
Who can but pity the founder 

of the pyramids ? Herostratus 
lives that burned the temple 
of Diana, he is almost lost 
that built it. Time hath 
spared the epitaph of Adrian's 
horse, confounded that of him- 
self. In vain we compute our 
felicities by the advantage of 
our good names, since bad 
have equal durations, and 
Thersites is likely to live as 
long as Agamemnon." This 
passage is not intuition; it 
contains argument and re- 
search; it is not extracted 
from a novel. It is merely 
prose, noble and rotund; it 
seeks no inclusion in a poem, 
to which it does not belong; 
and it will live, as prose, as 
long as our English speech. 

By the habit and tradition 
of our tongue and race verse is 
verse and prose is prose. In 
spite of Sir Henry Newbolt, we 
refuse to believe that we have 
" fostered a delusion," and see 
no profit in giving new names 
to old things. But Sir Henry 
Newbolt, following Matthew 
Arnold, does not think much 
of tradition. He says by way 
of reproach that the English 
are " accustomed to value tra- 
dition highly for the sake of 
comfort; as one values old 
boots, even when they are no 
longer very sound or present- 
able." Happily the English 
have valued tradition highly, 
but not merely for the sake of 
comfort. They have under- 
stood and herein lies their 
greatness that life and art 
are tradition and nothing else. 
Our writers of prose and poetry 
have been lantern-bearers al- 
ways. They have handed on 
the lamp, duly trimmed, from 


Musings without Method. 

[Jan. 1918. 

generation to generation. There 
is not one of them worthy to be 
remembered who does not owe 
his sense of beauty and wisdom 
to the past. Even where he 
has seemed an innovator, he 
has but gone no further back 
for his models than the last 
generation. If Keats owed 
little to the classical school, 
he owed a vast deal to Dray ton 
and Browne and Fletcher and 
Spenser. Sir Henry Newbolt 
thinks that all our great poets 
have been innovators. Truly 
they have added something of 
their own, yet how small their 
innovations seem when we look 
baok upon them ! No greater 
than the innovation whioh 
caused a riot at the first per- 
formance of "Hernani" a bold 
enjambement. Indeed, he who 
does not value tradition highly 
is an anarch who, despising all 
the rules discovered in the 
past, would make for himself 
a new system and a new world, 
who would pit against the 
gathered wisdom of two thou- 
sand years the cunning and the 
cleverness of a single brain. 
This enterprise of anarchy 
is fortunately impossible. 
Whether we wish it or not, 

we are bound to the past by an 
unbreakable chain. We cannot 
rid ourselves of our splendid 
inheritance. If we could, we 
should be born again, each one 
of us, into a stone age, and 
compelled to fight for our sus- 
tenance against our fellows. 

Sir Henry Newbolt, himself 
a professor, says harsh things 
about his kind. Nevertheless 
we will conclude our friendly 
argument with him by quoting 
what Professor W. P. Ker has 
to say about Burns. "It is 
a great thing," says he, "for 
an artist to inherit a strong 
tradition, to belong to a school. 
It means that he has all the 
strength of his own and the 
last generation to draw upon ; 
he does not waste his time in 
solitary adventures ; he is not 
left to himself; he is saved 
from caprice and melancholy, 
from the fate of Chatterton." 
That is true. Deprived of a 
tradition, the poet and the 
writer of prose alike will 
squander their years in vain 
experiment, and will die with- 
out the happy consciousness 
of security, without discover- 
ing that in art, as in life, the 
old ways are best. 

Printed by William BlacTcwood and Sons. 







THE Colonel puffed long at 
his cigar, then with a puzzled 
frown bent again over the 
papers before him. At either 
side of the small table by the 
window sat a bent-up figure, 
one (the Adjutant) writing 
hard at some orders ; the other 
(the Orderly Officer) likewise 
writing hard, but not orders. 
He was indulging in the un- 
lawful relaxation of writing 
letters in " office hours." The 
telephone rang sharply in the 

" Hallo," answered the Or- 
derly Officer, "hullo. Yes, 
K 32 speaking. It's written 
in your orders. 4.15 pip emma 
to-day is the hour. Lost your 
battery watch ? Well, find one 
somewhere. No. Good-bye." 

Lane leant over to the Adju- 
tant. " Westshire Siege want- 
ing to know when they had to 


be here to synchronise for the 
raid. What a mob they are. 
Lost their blinkin' watch, 

"Awful," jerked the Adju- 
tant without stopping. 

Silence again. Then the 
Colonel's voice broke in. " Lee, 
when is the next raid ? I can't 
make out this stuff at all." 

" To - night, sir," answered 
Lee ; " zero hour not through 

" Ah, I thought that was it. 
I wonder if it will be a suc- 

"I wonder." The Adjutant 
didn't like conversation while 
he was working. But the 
Colonel, full of elation at hav- 
ing solved the knotty point, 
continued unabashed. 

"Do you remember the last 
raid, Lee?" 

"Yes, sir." (Politeness and 


The Brain of the Guns. 


discipline forbid you to tell the 
O.C. of an Artillery Group 
H Q. to be quiet, even if you 
do feel like it.) 

"It was a bad affair, you 
know. The Boohe got wind of 
it and retired from his front 
line. When our boys went 
over they plunged into his 
trenoh filled with barbed wire." 
The Colonel stopped, as nobody 
appeared interested. Each, as 
a matter of fact, had told the 
story to Colonel Foljambe two 
days before. So he said, al- 
most sharply, "Didn't they, 

"Yes, sir, they did." 

The Colonel was beaten. 
Being a philosophical Irish- 
man he merely puffed content- 
edly, and waited for another 
opening. It came when the 
Orderly Officer picked off the 
receiver and called, " Car 
wanted now, facing south." 

"Not deserting the post of 
duty, Lane? Work is very 
pressing during this stunt." 

Lane repressed a smile as he 
answered, " No, sir, just going 
to the Corps to synchronise 
our watch. To be there at 

"Indeed. Well, you'll have 
to hurry, you know." 

"Yes, sir, I've just time, I 

Lane left the little room and 
jumped into the oar on the 
roadway. "Corps," he said 
briefly ; then, as the car slid 
away, he lit a cigarette and re- 
lapsed into day-dreams. Even 
the hard and bitter work of 
war could not eradicate this 
habit. With unseeing eyes he 
looked about him, at the little 
white crosses in the graveyard 

of the roofless church, at an 
aeroplane high in the sky, 
festooned with tiny puff-balls 
of shrapnel. Mechanically he 
lifted his hand in answer to 
the salute of the Traffic Guide 
as the car swung into the main 
road. His mind was playing 
caressingly with a vision of 
brown eyes and two slim 
white hands, listening to the 
merry laughter and soft voice, 
whose echoes rang ever above 
all the din and clamour of 

He came back to earth with 
a jerk as the car turned in 
through the white gates of a 
big chateau, and sped up the 
winding drive till it stopped 
in obedience to a notice, " Cars 
must not pass this point." 

Lane alighted, hurried round 
the bend and up the broad 
stairs into what must have 
been once almost a palace. 
Now, maps hung on the white- 
and-gold walls in place of 
pictures, and the long table 
bore a weight of diagrams and 
photographs instead of food 
and drink. Several other 
officers were standing about, 
each holding a large watch. 
They had come from the neigh- 
bouring Groups H.Q.'s for the 
same purpose as Lane, to syn- 
chronise their watches exactly 
to "Divisional Time." When 
orders contain such words as 
" Open fire at zero + 2| minutes 
. . . Lift to second target at 
zero + 31 minutes . . .," it is 
obvious that each battery 
watch must register the same 
time as that which the raiding 
party are going by. So the 
Groups are each synchronised 
by the Corps, then each Group 


The Brain of the Guns. 


synchronises its own batteries. 
Thus is oo-ordination assured. 

Lane greeted the other offi- 
cers, then turned with a smile 
of welcome to another who 

"Hullo, old chap," he said. 
"Didn't know you were out 
yet. Been long up here?" 

"Yes, about two months," 
answered the newcomer. 

"Heavens, what a time! 
I've only been ten. Sorry. I 
say, who's eaptaining the school 

" On, it's Newoome this year." 

"Newoome, that kid? He 
was about two feet high when 
I left." 

"Yes, but he's an Al half." 

"I expect so. I remember 
marking him in a house match. 
He marked me, though. I've 
got the hacks on my knee 

" Yes, he's a bit of a devil 
for that. By the way, what's 
the Staff Captain like snotty, 
or an exception ? " 

"Oh, he's as mild as milk. 
Frantically polite. It's ' Gentle- 
men, this/ and 'Gentlemen, 
that' the whole time. But, 
'ware the B.M." 

Just then the door opened 
quietly to admit the " mild aa 
milk" Staff Captain. "Good 
afternoon, gentlemen," he said 
suavely. "Pray pardon me 
keeping you waiting. I was 
engaged in some rather im- 
portant business. Now, if 
you're all quite ready I'll give 
you the time. 3.35 minus forty 
seconds." He looked at his 
watch, "Minus thirty twenty 
ten five up. Have you 
all got that, gentlemen?" 

Several voices murmured 

dissent. "Ah, well I'll give 
you it again at 3.37 this time. 
Beady? Twenty -five to go 
twenty ten five up. Is that 
all right?" 

Each officer released the pro- 
jection he had been pressing 
while moving the watch hands, 
and murmured thanks. Then 
the Captain spoke again, "I 
suppose you must all be getting 
back at once." The officers 
began to pass out the door. 
" You wouldn't like to wait for 
a eup of tea, perhaps?" 
none evinced a desire to remain 
"or a drink?" The last two 
(the only ones who heard) said 
in chorus, "Thanks, don't 
mind," and turned back. 

Lane sent his own oar on 
and got in beside his old 
schoolmate. They discussed 
the prospects of the season's 
"footer" with enthusiasm un- 
til K 32 was reached, where 
Lane returned to his duties 
until the arrival of an offioei 
from each battery in the Group 
made him go through the 
leading part of a performance 
similar to what took place at 
the Corps, with the exception 
that he did not ask any one to 
stay for a drink, the Adjutant 
being adamant on the subject 
of drinking during working 

Dinner over, the Adjutant 
made for the door into the 
office. The Yet. looked up from 
pouring out a liqueur. 

"Where fur, Lee? Work to 

"Yes, Vet." 

" Say, can't you get this lazy 
devil to do it ? " 

The " lazy devil," the Orderly 


The Brain of the Guns. 


Offioer, received the remark 
calmly, It was a settled con- 
viction of the Vet.'s that Lane 
did no work, which was not 
exactly true. 

" Vet.," said Lane in pitying 
tones, "when you start to do 
some work you can talk about 
me. I came up to bed early 
last night, about 12.30, and 
you were snoring so much I 
couldn't get to sleep even 

" My lad, I wasn't snoring. 
I'd gone to bed early, for I 
had to rise 5.30. More than 
you ever do." 

"Well, I'd rather get up 
early than stay up half the 


And so the skirmish con- 
tinued. The Adjutant retired 
into the office, the Colonel and 
the Doo. read leisurely. Then 
Lane finished the argument by 
starting the gramophone. The 
worn-out record screeched out 
the same tune that had only 
been played about six times a 
day for a month past, yet to 
Lane it meant " Theatre-land " 
and " all that ever went with 
evening dress." He listened 
enraptured. Even the rugged 
soul of the Vet. seemed to be 
softened, for the treatise on 
"Horse Diseases" was laid aside, 
and horny hands beat time on 
the great knee. Then the door 
jerked open, the Adjutant's 
head appeared, and vanished 
again with one word, "Lane." 

Lane entered the office. The 
Adjutant's brow was wrinkled 
deep with worry. " Zero hour 
not through yet," he said. 
"Batteries asking for details. 
Call up Corps." 

" Eight. I'll only get chewed 
up by the B.M., but if you 

wish " Lane turned to the 

'phone. A polite but firm an- 
swer came in response to his 

"Nothing doing," he said 
to the Adjutant ; " same old 
thing : * Orders will reach you 
in due course.' " 

The Adjutant grunted and 
paced up and down impatiently. 
Lane, thinking it wiser to stay, 
sat listening with strained ears 
to the distant tinkle of the gram- 
ophone. Outside, the rain beat 
a tattoo on the wooden shut- 
ters. The hands of the leather- 
cased clock crept slowly round 
to 9.45. Lee stopped, listening. 
The front door opened, then 
the office door, and a despatch- 
rider entered. Saluting, he 
handed over his message, re- 
ceived back the envelope signed, 
and withdrew. Lee muttered 
something below his breath and 
jumped to the 'phone. 

"All batteries," he called, 
"any order. Urgent." He 
spoke to Lane, "Zero hour, ten 
pip emma." 

" 'Strewth, fifteen minutes to 
get it through. You're 'phon- 
ing?" This query, because 
stringent orders exist against 
giving important messages over 
the 'phone in case of " tapping " 
on the way by the enemy. 

"Yes, the only way. Hullo, 
Northern Siege ? Officer ? 
Bight. You let fly ten pip 
emma. Understand ? Good." 
Before three minutes had 
passed four out of the six 
batteries were informed by that 
mysterious phrase, of what 
time was "zero hour." The 
fifth presented difficulty. 


The Brain of the Guns. 


"Let fly at 10 pip emma." 

" What's that ? " The officer 
on duty with the battery had 
little imagination. 

"Let fly, don't you under- 
stand?" " 

"What? Let fly, Don't 

Lee grew almost annoyed, 
but did not fall into the mistake 
of shouting, and so making 
things worse. "Damn it," he 
said, olear and distinct, "Let 
fly, kick-off, train starts. Guns, 
you know. Let 'em have it 

"Oh." Light dawned at last. 
" You mean that zero " 

"Yes, don't say it." Lee 
bellowed this time. 

The last battery was the 
greatest trouble. " Hullo, 98th 
Keserve. Hullo, Hullo I 98th 
Reserve" Still no answer, and 
then, "Exchange, can't get 
98th Keserve. What's up ? " 

"You're through to them, 
sir. Perhaps the line's given 

" Hell,"snapped Lee. "Have 
a D.B. standing by at once. 
Send Corporal Main." The 
Corporal appeared. "The line 
to 98th goes by the * Strand,' 
sir. They were shelling there 
this evening. Perhaps they 
cut the wire." 

"Right, see to it at once. 
Send a D.R." 

"Very good, sir." The Cor- 
poral left the room, collected a 
signaller and set off for the 
"Strand." A Despatch Rider 
entered. Lee tore off a mes- 
sage and handed it over, " 98th 
Reserve Heavy. Quick," he 

"He'll need lights to-night, 
Lee," put in Lane, "and they're 

not allowed on that road going 
towards the Line." 

"Never mind. Put your 
headlight on and slip past the 
Traffic Guide quick. You can 
manage ? " 

"Yes, sir," answered the 
D.R. joyfully. (The Traffic 
Guide was an enemy and to 
dash past him represented 
victory.) "He won't have 
time to stop me." 

"Right, off you go." 

A moment's silence. Then 
the roar of an engine fading 
away, a shout from the Traffic 
Guide, and only the beat of the 
rain again. 

"Open fire at zero, don't 
they ? " said Lane. " We can't 
do anything more. Let's go 
outside and watch for them." 

Together they went out to 
the doorstep, each in his differ- 
ent way torn by anxiety for 
the success of their last effort. 
Lane consulted his watch. 
" Time," he said, almost under 
his breath. "I wonder " 

His unspoken doubt was 
answered. A vivid glare of 
light flashed through the dark- 
ness, throwing the broken 
church tower into menacing 
relief : the silence of the night 
was torn by a rending crash as 
the guns spoke with one voice. 
But the Adjutant's keen ear 
detected a deficit. "98th Re- 
serve not fired," he muttered. 

A more vivid, nearer flash. 
A roar that rattled the shutters 
on their hinges, and a long- 
drawn whistle. The Adjutant 
sighed. "Thank Heaven, that's 
them now. Hear their shells ? 
Loud, you see, because they're 
going sideways across us." 

The din continued. A mono- 


The Brain of the Guns. 


tonous roar, varied by the dull, 
earth-shakiDg rumble of the 
" 9-2's" half a mile away. Lane 
was silent, thinking of the 
others in front the "P.B.I." 
Now they would be all lining 
the trench, ready to go over, 
each grim and silent. They'd 
be going over now, zero plus 
twenty. Poor devils. . . ." 

The 'phone bell recalled the 
two watchers to the office. 
Lane lifted the receiver. 
"Hullo," he said, "K 32 

"This is Counter - Battery 
Office. How many guns have 
you available for * strafeing ' 
their batteries if they get 
active ? " 

"Just a moment, air. Lee, 
how many guns available for 
C.B.W.? It's that maniac 

Lee consulted the clock, and 
glanced at the time-table for 
the raid. " Five," he said. 

"Thanks. Hullo, sir. We've 
got five." 

"Right. Engage these tar- 
gets. Alpha 32, 24, 48, 16, and 
40. Report when finished." 

Each number denoted a 
hostile battery whose exact 
position was known. Immedi- 
ately it was observed firing, to 
help in repulsing the raiders, 
back went the information to 
the Counter-Battery Office at 
Corps H.Q., thea down to the 
Group covering that sector, 
and so to a battery which at 
once "got on to" it with a 
score of rounds. So is organised 
artillery work the raider's best 

Hardly had the targets been 
allotted to the spare guns in 
the Group when "that maniac" 

(notorious for losing his head 
on such occasions) rang up 

"Cancel Alpha 24, 16, and 
40. Keep the others, and take 
30, 44, and 11 as well." 

"Very good, sir. Alpha 32 
and 48 finished with, sir." 

"Right you are. Take 
Alpha 5 and 12. As you were, 
6 and 12." 

And so the work continued. 
A never-ending stream of 
orders and targets as each 
active hostile battery was 
sprayed with shrapnel, aban- 
doned for another, given some 
more on signs of renewed 
activity, and left again. Cease- 
lessly the guns roared in the 
outer darkness, making the 
papers jump on the tables. 
Both telephones rang inces- 
santly. Down in "No Man's 
Land " a desperate struggle 
was going on, men killing 
and being killed, fighting like 
wild beasts. Such is modern 

Towards midnight the hos- 
tile fire slackened. One by one 
our guns grew silent. Then a 
renewed outburst from the 
German side set the 'phone 
ringing again, and the gun fire 
increased. Again it quietened 
down slowly. The Boche, 
knowing that each outburst 
only brought treble retribution, 
gradually ceased firing. In 
ten minutes more the night 
was again silent, except for 
one heavy gun far north firing 
sullenly, and the occasional 
crackle of machine-gun fire 
from the lines. 

Lee wiped imaginary sweat 
from his brow and looked at 
the Orderly Officer, who'd have 


The Brain of the Guns. 


been still at the 'Varsity in 
ordinary times, sitting pale 
and relaxed by the telephone. 
It had been hard and wearing 

"Lane, "the Adjutant's voice 
was unusually gentle, " I think 
you had better get off now and 
turn in. You look done." As 
Lane murmured dissent he 
added, "Yes, go on, old ohap. 
There's not inuoh more to do. 
Thanks for your help. You 
were fine." 

Thus comforted, Lane said 
good -night, stumbled up the 
dark stairs, took off his boots 
and tunio and fell asleep almost 

before he had time to pull the 
blankets over him. 

And the next day a line in 
the communiqud weuld appear, 
"A small raid took place 
on the front. We cap- 
tured a few prisoners." Just 
that, and the unwitting reader 
would turn to more interesting 
matter the football news, the 
racing results, or the theatre 
notices, according to his several 
fancies. And again, according 
to the same, would mutter in 
disgust, "I wonder when they're 
going to do something over 


Silence reigned inside the 
Cure's tiny house. In the 
kitchen, where orderlies lolled 
on a Chippendale sofa, and in 
the Mess, where the Doc. lay 
fast asleep in an arm-ohair with 
a cigarette still hanging in his 
lips, it was a silence which de- 
noted rest. But in the office 
well, even that half-hour after 
lunch, so sacred to a cigarette 
and a quiet talk, or sleep, was 
not respected. The Colonel 
knotted his hands and frowned 
over a document before him, 
every minute lifting a pen and 
beginning to write, then stop- 
ping and puzzling again. The 
Adjutant, whose high brow was 
knit (as always) into furrowed 
lines, was transcribing into a 
book from a typed sheet propped 
up against the cigarette box. 
Opposite him the Orderly Officer 
was busy with coloured inks 
and maps fashioning a highly- 
coloured diagram of the area 

visible from each O.P. The 
silence was only broken by the 
scratch of a match lighting or 
the rustle of papers. 

After a time the Orderly 
Officer sighed deeply, wrote his 
name below the diagram and 
passed it over without a word 
to the Adjutant. Then, with 
a glance at the clock to see if 
he could spare the time before 
making out the daily report for 
the Corps, he drew a writing- 
tablet from a drawer and 
commenced a hurried corre- 
spondence. The first, a brief 
note asking about a doubtful 
bank balance, was soon finished 
and the envelope addressed 
"Cox & Co." Then another 
began, this time, "Dear old 

"I suppose you don't know," 
he wrote, " what Zone Calls ' 
are. "Well, they are wireless 
messages sent down by recon- 
noitring 'planes giving the 


The Brain of the Guns. 


locality of any hostile battery 
observed firing, or any moving 
troops, &o. They are the ourse 
of my life here, as the Flight 
Merchants are awfully particu- 
lar about our batteries answer- 
ing their call by engaging the 
target at once. Fortunately 
to-day is misty," he continued, 
glancing out of the window, 
"so we'll have a rest." A 
casual glance again made him 
think; the mist was certainly 
thinner. Even as he looked it 
faded and eddied in the light 
breeze that was springing up, 
and each moment the distant 
peak of Elsberg grew more 
distinct. He bent over towards 
the Adjutant. 

"Lee," he whispered, "the 
mist's clearing. We'll have 
'planes up in a minute now." 

As he spoke the winter sun 
struggled through the clouds, 
pale and watery, but increasing 
in intensity each moment. 

The Adjutant muttered a 
reply and continued writing. 
An orderly entered, saluted, and 
laid a slip of buff paper in front 
of Lane. " Zone Call, sir." 

"Damn," muttered Lane, 
" here they come. What's this? 
NK.T5a2850,T5? That's" 
he glanced at a diagram above 
him "T 5, Northern Siege." 
He picked up the receiver, 
"Northern Siege," and waited. 
" Through to Northern Siege, 

"Eight. Hullo. K 32 speak- 
ing. Have you received a Zone 
Call just now?" 

The answer came faintly, 

"Check, please." 

"NK. T5a2850.' 


Lane turned to enter the call 
on duplicate forms. The door 
opened again. Two buff slips 
this time. Again the process 
was repeated of checking the 
call, to ensure that it had 
been correctly picked up by 
the wireless operator at the 
Battery. The Group wireless 
station was considered infal- 
lible partly because the Ad- 
jutant insisted on the operator 
on duty remaining beside his 
instrument with the receiver 
strapped to his head all the 
time, instead of lounging about 
in the vicinity of it, as was 
usual at the batteries. 

Every minute the orderly 
entered with unfailing regu- 
larity, bearing his double 
burden of troublous calls. The 
telephone rang without inter- 
mission, and, far up in the 
clear cold air, the watching 
'planes saw the answer to 
their calls in the shape of 
tiny white puffs on the ground 
far below. 

A variant came. This time 
a 'phone from the Squadron, 
which directed all flying in the 

" Hullo ! that K 32 ? Squad- 
ron speaking. Did you receive 
a Zone Call at 11.46 ao emma 
two days ago, the 22nd ? " 

"Wait a bit. I'll look up 
the lists." Lane put down 
the receiver and said : " Lee, 
Squadron wants to know 
about a Zone Call two days 
ago. I suppose we received 

"'Course," snapped the Ad- 

"Hullo!" said Lane again 
to his questioner. "I find we 
have some record of the call 


The Brain of the Guns. 


in question. Exactly what 
battery answered, I can't say 
at the moment; but one of 
them did." 

"Did they? Oh, we'll see. 
I'm reporting the matter to 
Corps. They'll look into your 
'some record.'" 

"Thank you. Anything 
else? Good-bye." 

Lane thought a moment, 
accepted the inevitable and 
returned to his work. After 
a bit he paused again and 
lifted on to his table the 
Zone Call list. 

"22nd," he muttered, turn- 
ing the pages. "Here we 
are. 10.35, 10.40, 11.6, 11.18, 
11.42, 11.55, doesn't seem to 
be here. Another 'strafe,' I 

suppose. Oh, well ," and 

he shrugged his shoulders, re- 
placing the list. 

The Adjutant passed over a 
message he had just received. 
"Thank Heaven," he said 
briefly ; " going to - night." 
Lane read the message : 
"The three batteries which 
joined K 32 Heavy Group for 
the purposes of assisting in 
raids will move out before 
midnight (25th -26th). O.C. 
Group will arrange about 
tractors with O.C. Corps 
Workshop, and for return of 
surplus ammunition. The bat- 
teries will proceed as follows 
. . ." Lane sighed relief. The 
tension and strain of the past 
week was to be removed, and 
life would settle down into a 
more ordinary and decent rou- 
tine until the next stunt 
which might be the " big 
show." "Have you 'phoned 
Workshop yet, Lee ? " he said, 
"or will I?" 

"You, please. Now. Two 
tractors at this point 11.30 
pip emma. Guides will await." 

"Eight, old chap. S'pose 
98th Reserve Heavy will have 
their teams up on their own 
account ? " 

"Have to," said Lee shortly. 

Lane arranged for the 
tractors to pull the siege- 
guns of the 6 -inch and 9*2- 
inoh batteries to their des- 
tination that night. Just as 
he was replacing the receiver 
a voice called him from the ex- 
change, situated in a pantry 
at the back of the house 

"Adjutant, speak to B.M., 

"Lee," said the Orderly 
Officer, "it's the B.M. for you. 
About that confounded Zone 
Call,* I expect." And he 
added in mock sympathy: 
"You're for it, my lad." 

Lee, noting with relief that 
the Colonel had gone out, 
snatched up the receiver, his 
face wearing that worried 
look which the Brigade Major 
always caused. "Hullo, sir! 
Adjutant K 32 speaking." 

A snort in the receiver an- 
nounced that the B.M, had 
received . the information. 

"About that Zone Call 
11.46 ao emma, 22nd. Did 
you receive it?" 

Lane shook his head vigor- 

"No, sir," said Lee; "we 
didn't get it in this office." 

"You didn't eh? Can you 
tell me why? It was sent 
down in the ordinary way." 

"I'll look into the matter, 
sir, and report when I've 
found out about it, sir." 


The Brain of the Guns. 


" Will you eh ? Look here. 
Did your signallers get the 
message ? " 

'I haven't consulted them 
yet, sir." 

"Why not, sir? D* so at 
once, and let me know within 
five minutes. Understand?" 

" Yes, sir. Very good." 

Lee replaced the receiver, a 
troubled, almost pained look in 
the depths of his steely eyes. 
" Get Signalling Corporal, 
Lane," he said wearily. 

The Corporal appeared, list- 
ened attentively, and departed 
to probe the matter to its 
depth. He reappeared, carry- 
ing a file of wireless messages. 

"One at 11.42, one at 11.55," 
said Lee. "Got anything be- 
tween those?" 

"Yes, sir. One at 11.46." 

Lee groaned. "Why didn't 
we get it in the office ? Were 
you on duty?" 

"No, sir." 

"Who was?" 

The Corporal thought a mo- 
ment. "Ball was the orderly 
on duty, sir." 

" What Ball ? He's a good 

"Yes, sir. I can't under- 
stand it at all." 

"Put him under arrest at 

"Very good, sir." 

The Corporal went away on 
his unpleasant mission, while 
Lee turned to his disagreeable 
conversation with the B.M. 

"I've found the trouble, sir. 
The call was received on our 
exchange wireless, but was not 
brought to us, sir." 

" What's that ? Not brought 
to you, eh ? " 

"No, sir." 

"Well, put the orderly on 
duty under arrest at once, and 
report by wire what disciplin- 
ary action has been taken 
against him the damned fool. 
You'll have to look after those 
men of yours a bit better, Lee." 

"Yes, sir. I'll do as you 
say, and report to-night." It 
was no use telling the B.M., 
Lee knew from bitter experi- 
ence, that you had already 
done what he told you to do at 
once. That was only adding 
fuel to his wrath, which was 
unpleasant enough as it was. 

" Come in for tea, Lee," said 
Lane. He was genuinely sorry 
for the Adjutant, who took the 
B.M.'a "strafes" so much to 
heart. " It'll do you good, old 
chap, and you can't do any- 
thing more until Colonel 
Foljambe comes in." 

Lee assented reluctantly, and 
they passed into the adjoining 
mess-room, where quite a 
luxurious repast was laid out. 
Bread, the ordinary Army 
issue, was transformed into 
inviting hot toast ; there were 
soft brown scones, too, from 
Lane's last parcel; a jar of 
golden honey all the way from 
the "little queen" in distant 
Alberta, who looked to the 
bodily needs of the big Vet. 
There was even a large cake, 
one of those rich, decorated 
confections, which the hands 
of the Colonel's dainty wife 
had made. "Quite a spread 
to-day, isn't it, Lee?" 

"Bather almost makes you 
forget things a bit." 

"Poor old chap, that B.M.'s 
the last word." 

Lee's rigorous idea of dis- 
cipline was up in arms at once. 


The Brain of the Guns. 


"But he's a good ohap. Only 
doing his duty, y' know." 

"Well, he needn't do it so 
beastly impolitely. Never mind, 
though, let's get into this." 

Less weighty matters were 
discussed as the gifts from 
Scotland, from Ireland, and 
from Canada softened the Ad- 
jutant's aspect. He relaxed 
into his real, happy self, and 
chatted gaily about the pros- 
pects of leave, what shows to 
see (Maddock would tell them 
all about that), where to dine 
in town, the best orchestra, 
and all the other important 
matters. The Colonel's advent, 
just as they were finishing the 
meal, brought Lee back again 
to the hard realities of his 
business. He explained the 
matter succinctly, the Colonel 
promising, with no relish, to 
see the prisoner after tea. The 
Doo. being busy (he sometimes 
was) at the little dispensary 
down the road, and the ab- 
sence of the Vet., who was 
superintending " horse - dip- 
ping," was the Adjutant's ex- 
cuse for " talking shop " at 


"Prisoner and escort halt" 
roared a voice. " Stand at- 
ease. All correct, sir." The 
Corporal reported to Colonel 
Foljambe, who sat, looking very 
uncomfortable, at a table, on 
the other side of which stood 
the prisoner. The Colonel 
didn't have much regard for 
rules of procedure, and came 
straight to the point. "Can 
you explain this, Ball?" 

The prisoner appeared a trifle 
sullen, but pain lurked in his 
downcast eyes. "No, sir." 

"Come, come," said the Col- 
onel kindly, "there must be 
some explanation. You're a 
very good man as a rule. 
Can't you say something about 

"No, sir." There was a 
quiver of his lip as he an- 

"Well, Ball, I don't want to 
sentence you, but I'm afraid 
I'll have to. You're keeping 
something back, my good fel- 
low. Won't you tell me every- 

The prisoner, who had come 
determined to be doggedly 
silent under the harsh words 
he expected, almost broke down 
at the Colonel's kindness. 

"I wasn't notioin' at the 
time, sir, when they handed 
me the message. I was wor- 
ried, sir awful worried at a 
letter from my wife. I wasn't 
just myself, sir. She said 
she said " he paused, with a 
glance at the escort and the 
two officers beside the Colonel. 

" Take your escort away, Cor- 
poral," he said. "Would you 
mind, gentlemen? Thanks." 
Lee and Lane left the room. 
Then into his sympathetic ears 
the prisoner poured, in broken 
words, the whole story. Just 
the usual sordid tale you can 
read every day of these troub- 
lous times in the "Police News." 
Another man in the question, 
drink, the little child ill-treated 
by her unnatural and unfaith- 
ful mother. All BO sordid and 
cheap, yet the most poignant 
tragedy to the prisoner. 

When he finished, the Col- 
onel stood up and placed a 
strong hand on the bowed 
shoulder. For a few minutes 


The Brain of the Guns. 


he spoke, not as a Colonel to a 
Gunner, but almost as a father 
to a son. The prisoner, now 
exonerated, returned to his 
duties, feeling that at least he 
had one friend on earth, and 
thinking a trifle more than pre- 
viously about a greater Friend. 
The Colonel, when the two 
officers returned, dictated the 
wire to Corps. " Prisoner is a 
man of good record and excel- 
lent character. Has been suf- 
fering from nervous trouble, 
now disappearing, which ac- 
counted for his lapse. In con- 
sideration of the above he has 
not been fined. I have severely 
reprimanded him." 

After dinner Lane returned 
to the office to enter the miss- 
ing Zone Call. As he wrote 
a wrinkle appeared on his 
brow. He jumped to the big 
map. " Q 3 d 5525 Q 3 d Q 3 
Strew th. Lee, listen to this. 
The pin-point where that 'plane 
observed troops moving two 
days ago the Zone Call that 
all the trouble was about it's 
in our lines." 

"What!" Lee crossed to 
the map. 

"Yes, look there. It's that 
little bend. He's mistaken it 
for the bend farther north. 
Wait till I get them." 

" Not going to 'phone them ? 
Better let it drop." 

"No bloomin' fear, me lad. 
They've rubbed into us enough, 
and now we've caught them 
we'll have our own back, and 
a little bit extra on account. 
'Sides, I can't stand their O.O. 
Tried to pinch my er girl 
once. Hullo, Squadron, please." 

"Through, sir." 

"Hullo," Lane was beaming 
with delight. "That Orderly 
Officer? We're very sorry 
about that Zone Call we didn't 
answer " 

"So are we." 

"You will be in a minute," 
thought Lane, then added : 
"Yes, very sorry. But if you 
wouldn't mind teaching your 
observers to observe we'd be 
awfully obliged. You see, we 
simply hate having to fire on 
our own troops, even when 
you do honour us with a Zone 

" What do you mean ? " The 
voice was more than a little 

"You asked us to fire on a 
1 Troops Moving ' target," went 
on Lane, prolonging the agony. 

" Yes. What about it ? " 

" Not much. They were our 

An example of advanced 
elocution came to him from 
the other end of the wire. 
He broke in, determined on 
having that "little bit extra." 

"If you happen, by any 
chance, to have a map in 
your nursery, you'd better 
take a look at it. You'll see 
after a little study that the 
point your man sent down 
was behind our front line. 
So, unless there was a 'break- 
through ' we hadn't heard of " 
then he stopped, hearing the 
click of the other receiver being 
replaced, and turned to Lee 
with a smile of vengeance 
satisfied. "Now, they'll be 
more careful about their miser- 
able Zone Calls." He smiled. 

Before the Adjutant could 
reply, a head of bristly hair 
appeared at the door. " Lee," 


The Brain of the Guns. 


said the Vet., " there's no 
whisky left. That dura boy 
of yours has finished it, I 

" Never mind, Vet. I didn't 
finish it, but still it's my half- 
day off to - morrow, and I'm 
going into San Merke. I'll 
get some at the Canteen. Re- 
member the time the Doo. and 
you got the port, and we dis- 
covered at dinner that it was 
Invalid Port?" 


" The vendetta," Lane wrote 
in a postscript to his letter 
before going to bed, " between 

us and the Squadron still goes 
on. To-day we scored heavily. 
They'd asked us to fire on 
troops moving, and made an 
awful fuss because we didn't. 
The battery wireless was wrong, 
and one of our orderlies forgot 
to bring us the message. We 
found later the point indicated 
was in our own lines. The ob- 
server had mistaken the target 
in the mist, or sent down the 
letter wrong. It wasn't his 
fault, but it enabled me to 
score nicely off De Brett at 
the Squadron. Not much else 


The Orderly Officer looked 
surprised as he opened the 
mess door. Being down speci- 
ally early for breakfast, he also 
felt rather aggrieved to see the 
Colonel, his meal finished, sit- 
ting over the stove. 

" Good-morning, sir," he said. 

"Good - morning, my boy. 
Early this morning, eh ? " 

Lane nodded doubtful assent, 
not being sure whether the last 
words referred to the Colonel or 
himself. He pressed the bell, 
and ordered more toast from 
the orderly who answered his 
summons, then sat down to 
his porridge. 

" Your day off, Lane, isn't 
it ? " said the Colonel. 

"Yes, sir. I'm off after 11 
o'clock if there's not much 
work." As the Adjutant 
entered from the office to get 
more cigarettes, Lane added : 
"Will I be able to get off 
at eleven, Loe ? Is there much 
work ? " 

" No, not much doing. Extra 
batteries safely gone last night. 
You can go if Colonel Foljambe 
doesn't want you." 

"Oh, that's all right, Lee," 
said the Colonel pleasantly. 
" Do you want to take the 
oar, Lane?" 

"Thanks awfully, sir. If 
you're not needing it ? " 

"All right, you take it." 

"Thank you, sir." 

Heavy footsteps clattered 
down the unoarpeted stair, 
and two figures entered the 
mess. First came the Vet., 
big and burly, his bullet head 
covered with bristly hair, 
smiling and rubbing his great 
hands together. After him 
entered the Doo., whose curly 
hair and blue eyes proclaimed 
his Irish origin as much as did 
the long soar on his forehead, 
a relic from some long past 
election row. 

The two newcomers greeted 
the Colonel and Lane, then 


The Brain of the Guns. 


fell silent while they consumed 
prodigious plates of porridge 
and piles of toast. The Yet. 
was spreading his favourite 
honey (from his wife in far-off 
Alberta) on the last slice, when 
Lane spoke. 

''Vet., are you doing much 
to-day ? " 

" Guess not, boy. Why d'you 

"I'm going into San Merke 
with the oar at eleven. Will 
you and the Doo. come along ? " 

"Rather. You kin come, 
Doo. ? " 

"Of course he can," said 
Lane ; " he's never got any- 
thing to do. I'm going to 
be a Doo. in the next war " 
then, seeing the Yet. smiling 
broadly, he added "or a 

This of course commenced 
a battle, which lasted almost 
until Lane went into the 
office. But his parting words 
showed what of heat had been 
in the argument. "Well, 
you'll come, you two ? That's 
right. Be ready at eleven, for 
I've a frantic lot to do in town." 

The oar, with its three oc- 
cupants, passed the Traffic 
Guide near Group H.Q., and 
descended the long hill to the 
main road, where it was forced 
to crawl along in a line of slow- 
moving lorries and carts, ex- 
cept when an opening in the 
parallel stream of vehicles, 
going " Linewards," allowed it 
to slip from its place and 
bucket along the broken pav6 
to a place farther up. At 
last the long rise into the 
town was commenced. Up 
the hill, past the various 

offices and stores, past a 
building where a flaring ad- 
vertisement announced that 
the "Flanders Follies Concert 
Party " would give selections 
from their famous repertoire 
that night, round the corner 
where a large Red Cross flag 
hung half across the street, 
into the main square, where 
the oar was parked beside a 
score of others, and the three 
officers alighted. 

" What shall we do first ? " 
said Lane. " It's too early for 

"Bath," answered the others 
in chorus. 

"Right. The Club, I sup- 

So off up the narrow street 
to a large house, converted into 
an Officers' Club. Three baths 
were ordered from the "jeune 
Fran9aise" who attended to 
them, and they parted company 
for a while. 

Lane ruefully surveyed his 
bathroom. An ordinary attic, 
bare and not over-clean, in 
which had been installed a 
large bath, its paint cracked 
and blistered, and above it a 
curious arrangement known as 
a "geyser," from which a tiny 
pipe conveyed water to the 
bath. After reading all the 
directions for dealing with the 
monster, Lane cautiously lit 
the gas-ring and opened the 
tap, as directed. While un- 
dressing the idea occurred to 
him to keep the tap closed until 
the water was really hot, and 
only then to open it. He im- 
mediately carried this plan into 
execution, and, at imminent 
risk of explosion, filled the bath 
with two feet of steaming 


The Brain of the Guns. 


water, into which he plunged 
with delight. 

" Isn't this ripping ? " he said 
to himself, vigorously plying 
soap and brush. "First bath 
for three weeks. Better than 
that awful apology I got at the 
battery. Whew! it's warm." 

Then, his washing finished, 
he lay down with only his face 
above the water, and dreamed 
of baths at home and baths in 
town, and from that to bathing 
on holidays, in the sea, in High- 
land loohs, in rook-bound lakes. 
Just as he was living through 
a splendid "dip " in an ioe-oold 
mountain burn, his eye caught 
a notice requesting officers not 
to remain more than fifteen 
minutes in the bath. Reluc- 
tantly he got out, dried, and 
dressed. Downstairs he met 
the Doc. and Vet. waiting im- 

"Come on, Lane," said the 
Doc. " We're hungry." 

"Sorry for being so long. 
Where shall we lunch. There 
are too many * brass-hats' in 
this place to be comfortable. 
What about the ' Hotel des 
Allies' in the Place?" 

"No good," said the Vet.; 
" they never give you enough 
to eat there." 

" Well, let's walk down and 
have a look round." 

A tempting smell of " poulet 
r6ti," issuing from a tiny house, 
made them stop. Lane looked 
at the window. 

" Not bad. ' Restaurant pour 
Offioiers ' it says. Shall we try 

" Right, lad. Lead on." 

So in they went. A pretty 
maid with blue eyes, that some- 
how reminded Lane of a holiday 

spent years before in Devon, 
took their unintelligible order, 
and began to offer them every- 
thing in the 'place. Lane 
thought it seemed rather a big 
lunch, but continued eating 
with the others till all the 
choices had been well sampled. 
Then they pulled their chairs 
to the stove and sat blowing 
clouds of smoke until the Doc. 
broke in. 

"We'd better be getting 
along, you chaps, if we're going 
to get through that shopping 
Lee wants done." 

" Right, Doc. Let's take the 
oar with us to put the things 

So the car was taken and a 
first stop made at a tiny " eon- 
fiseur." Here the Vet., who 
carried the list of requirements 
for the mess, purchased a large 
box of liqueur chocolates, 
while Lane surreptitiously col- 
lected various bags and boxes 
of the choicest chocolates and 
fondants he could find. The 
Canteen, a big shed near the 
Place, was the next house of call. 
They mounted to the raised 
platform where the notice read 
" Officers' Department." 

"First thing," said the 
Vet., "is whisky. Got any 

"Scotch whisky," put in 

" Irish," said the Doc. 

"We haven't any Irish, sir," 
replied the attendant. 

"There you are, Doc. They 
won't even keep that raw fire 
of yours. Get a dozen * Johnnie 
Walker,' Vet." 

The case of whisky pur- 
chased, to it were added cigar- 
ettes, soup squares, pears, 


The Brain of the Guns. 


crystallised fruits, meal, and 
matches. When everything 
had been bought the three 
staggered out with their load 
to the oar, and drove to a tiny 
shop, into which they carried a 
dozen empty syphons, which 
the buxom "patronne" filled 
with a liquid alleged to bs 

When they again left the car 
in the Place and set off for tea, 
Lane parted with the others. 
"Some things to get," he ex- 
claimed, rather shyly. 

He began in a stationer's. 
His French consisted of a few 
half - remembered words from 
his school-days and a collection 
of forceful expletives culled 
from " The Beloved Vagabond." 
But he marched in boldly and 

" Des papiers Anglais ? " 
" Ah oui, m'sieur. La voila." 
Lane chose the ' Tatler,' 
1 Sketch,' ' Bystander,' and a 
few others, while the voluble 
Frenchman discoursed un- 
heeded, Not to be beaten, he 
tried again in "English." 

"Les Boohes, m'sieur, ils 
ont " and he made an expres- 
sive downward movement with 
his hands and pointed to the 

"Set fire to it briiler?" 
said Lane. 

"Ah, non, m'sieur," again 
the hand play. 

"What, then? Canons?" 
"Oui, m'sieu. Aeroplanes." 
"Oh, bombed the Station? 
Salles Boches, n'est-ce pas? 
Sacre nom d'un coohon." This 
last was always effective. 

The delighted shopkeeper 
plunged into a full account 
of the raid the previous day. 

All Lane gathered was an 
occasional "tues" and a 
number; so each time he rose 
to the occasion with "Sacre 
bleu," "Nom d'un ohameau," 
or "Saore nom d'un nom." 
After a few minutes of this 
profane conversation he 
turned to the real object of 
his visit " un souvenir, 
monsieur, pour une demoiselle. 

The smiling Frenchman did, 
and showed Lane an assort- 
ment of spoons, engraved ash- 
trays, handkerchiefs embroi- 
dered in flaring colours, and 
little silver figures of the 
saints. In the end Lane chose 
some of the quietest of the 
handkerchiefs, and, with recol- 
lections of a tiny gold -tipped 
cigarette smoked after coffee 
in a dressing-room, took one 
of the ash-trays as well. 

Then back to the car to 
deposit his purchases, except 
the handkerchiefs, which he 
kept in his pocket. The 
driver was standing near. 

"Haven't you gone for tea, 
Williams ? I'm sure you want 
something," asked Lane. 

" Oh, I'd a good lunch, sir," 
answered the driver, with 
averted eye. 

" Well, that's no reason why 
you shouldn't have a good tea 
as well. Have you" he was 
going to say "got plenty of 
money," but changed it at 
the last moment " er for- 
gotten to bring your purse ? " 

"Well, sir, the fact ie " 

"There; not a word to any- 
body. See ? Now go and have 
a good tea." 

The driver departed, mutter- 
ing astonished thanks for the 


The Brain of the Guns. 

five -franc note in his hand, 
while Lane returned to the 
Club. As he entered the 
smoking-room, he saw dimly 
through the veil of smoke 
the big white -and -gold room 
filled with khaki figures. The 
buzz of oonversation was al- 
most deafening. Snatches of 
it came to him as he stood 
looking round for any one he 

"... and he managed to re- 
start his engine while they 
were coming for him. His 
observer held them with the 
machine - gun, and they got 
back safe. He's getting the 

". . . he was killed in Del- 
ville Wood about a year ago.* 
We found the place literally 
heaped with dead Boohes, 
where he'd held off counter- 
attacks for five hours . . ." 

". . . that thing beginning, 
'Let the Great Big World'- 
something or other. I heard 
it last leave . . ." 

". . . can't play it any more. 
The Colonel put his foot 
through all the records when 
he didn't get the . . ." 

". . . got on to it with the 
third round. You can hardly 
see the place at all now; it's 
as level as . . ." 

"... she had that wonder- 
ful reddish hair what d'you 
call it? Titian red. . . ." 

An officer left a little group 
and came over to Lane. 

"Hullo, old chap! Day 

"Oh, it's you!" shouted 
Lane. " Come some place for 

"Right," bawled the other 
through the noise. "Wait 



till I get this man. 

A third officer joined them, 
and they made their way to 
a back room of a little 
pd tisser ie. 

"The," said the Sapper 

" Wee, boooo," added Junky. 

" I say, you chaps, let's pre- 
tend " 

" Pretend ? " said the others, 

"Yes," answered Lane, "pre- 
tend this is one of the old 
nights in Town. We're having 
dinner at " 

"Waldorf," put in the 

"Right ; the Waldorf. And 
of course we're having a party. 
S'pose it's the Theatre Royal 
crowd eh ? " 

"Rather," said Junky. 
"You've got the ' Princess/ 
I suppose, as usual?" 

"Lucky beggar," muttered 
the Sapper. 

"And I've got D6sir6e. 
Sapper has got Daphne, and 
all the rest are sitting round 

"I say, do you know that 
the 'Princess' celebrates her 
twentieth birthday on Wednes- 
day ? I've just been getting 
something to send her as a 
er souvenir. Let's drink her 

"Not in tea, Lane, surely. 
Gar9on, de champagne, vite." 

When the wine arrived, three 
glasses were filled, and the 
officers rose to their feet. 

"To the brown eyes of the 
' Princess.' Long life and hap- 
piness." Three glasses were 
clinked and drained. Then, 
while the others ate and talked, 
Lane fell into a reverie. How 


The Brain of the Guns. 


different this is to our old 
nights. Wonder what she's 
doing just now. . . . 

" Lane, wake up. In dream- 
land ? Junky's going to play." 

The battered piano was 
pulled from its corner, and 
Junky crashed out all the 
latest songs whioh they sang 
till they were hoarse. Then 
Lane sat down on the piano- 
stool. He never had taken 
music lessons, but could play 
little soft things, simply but 
with wonderful feeling. He 
played "Softly awakes my 
heart," while the others sat 
enthralled at the melody of 
the immortal love-song. Then 
the poor, hackneyed "Bar- 
carolle "from "Hoffmann." Yet 
as Lane played it, reverently 
and softly, it seemed to whisper 
of lights and laughter and still 
waters. A phrase, remembered 
from some poem, crossed his 

"Those tunes that mean so much to 

you alone 
Common tunes that make you choke 

and blow your nose, 
Vulgar tunes that bring the laugh that 

brings the groan, 

I can rip your very heart-strings out 
with those." 

He stopped playing and 
leant forward, his elbows on 
the keys, his face buried in his 
hands. He was beginning to 
understand the last line. 
Heart-strings. . . . 

The Doc. and the Vet. waited 
impatiently at the car. The 
Place was growing dark, and 
the towers of the old H6tel 
de Ville fading away in blue 
shadow. At last Lane ap- 
peared, not the usual laughing, 

sarcastic Lane, but one quieter, 
with a softness of line in his 
face, and a hint of moisture in 
his eyes. 

"I'm sorry for keeping you 
two waiting," was all he said, 
as he climbed in beside the 

The oar slowly moved from 
its place in the crowd of 
vehicles, and slipped down the 
descent out of the town. They 
passed the hall where a crowd 
of Tommies, sprinkled here and 
there with the red or blue tabs 
of the Staff, were crowding in 
to see the "Flanders Follies." 
The Vet. leant over and tapped 
Lane's shoulder. 

" What's up, lad ? Not feel- 
*ing well? You're awfully 

With an effort Lane regained 
almost his natural self. 
" I'm all right, Vet. Fit as you 
like. I was just thinking of 
something." The only explan- 
ation he could give to the Vet. 
of his feelings: how could he 
explain that he'd discovered he 
was in love ? 

" Eight ; I thought you were 
ill. What did you do all the 
time? Get your hands mani- 
cured, or your hair sham- 

"No, I meant to do both 
those, but I met some men I 
knew, and we sat a long time 
over tea. We were pretend- 
ing " 

" You were what ? Pretend- 

Lane realised the impossi- 
bility of making the Vet. under- 
stand. The big raw man had 
probably never pretended any- 
thing in his life. The Doc., 
with his Celtic temperament, 


The Brain of the Guns. 


would have understood, but 
not the Vet. 

" Yes, pretending there 
wasn't a war on." 

"Useless sort of thing," 
grunted the Vet., relapsing into 
silence, until the head -lights 
revealed a battalion coming 
up the poplar - lined road, 
muddy and tired, but happy 
at the thought of leaving, for 
a time at least, the Line. 
"Good lads," he said. 

"Yes, they're Irish," said 
the Doo. 

" I used to rather look down 
on the Infantry when I was in 
England," muttered Lane, half 
to himself. "Used to reckon 
I was above them, being Royal 
Regiment. But now well, I 
take off my hat to them every 

A few more minutes brought 
the oar to H.Q., where the 
stores were carried in, and the 
three voyagers hurried up- 
stairs to wash before dinner. 

"Lane," said the Adjutant, 
" I've had a wire from Mad- 
dock. He'll be back in two 
days. Will you be ready to 
leave then?" 

"Yes. Two days? Plenty 
of time to pack my huge kit 
to-night, let alone to-morrow." 

But he didn't pack that 
night. Instead, he wrote a 
long letter, told a story in it, 
and asked a question. Then 
he slipped in the handkerchiefs, 
and sent off the packet, to 
bring tears of happiness to 
two brown eyes, and from a 
heart a tender "Yes." 




BY G. J. H. 


VISITORS to Egypt will find 
posted up in their hotel bed- 
rooms a notice directing them 
to "ring once for the waiter, 
twice for the chambermaid, 
three times for the Arab." 
The silent gentleman who 
answers the three rings may 
be an Egyptian, or a Nubian 
from Southern Egypt : he will 
certainly not be an Arab. 
There may be, in the Sudan, 
a few oases of Arabs enter- 
ing domestic service ; but very 

The hotel manager, however, 
is not altogether to blame for 
the mistake, for the Anglo- 
Egyptian resident commonly 
refers to the Egyptians as 
Arabs. The only Arabs in 
Egypt are the Bedouins, who 
lead a nomadic existence on the 
northern fringes of the Delta. 
These form a very small pro- 
portion of the population of 
Egypt the Nile valley and 
its Delta. The vast majority 
may have a little Arab blood 
in their veins, but they are 
a mixture of all the ages, 
and bear no resemblance in 
features or character to the 
true Arab. 

But owing to that unlucky 
hotel notice, the tourist starts 
off with the idea that the Arab 
is a very ordinary sort of 
person, often picturesque, who 
may wait in a hotel, dig in the 
fields, sail a Nile boat, or sell 

him mats in the native bazaar 
at several times their proper 

As a matter of fact, the Arab 
proper is an aristocrat com- 
pared to the Egyptian ; and in 
the Sudan, as elsewhere, the 
Arabs have maintained their 
tribal customs and obligations 
unchanged through hundreds 
of years. 

The Sudan means " the 
country of the black," and 
the original inhabitants of the 
Sudan were negroes. Arab 
tribes, with their wander- 
ing propensities, invaded the 
country, and either enslaved 
the aboriginal population or 
pushed them back to the 
swampy, unhealthy country 
of the South. As always, 
the race of inferior intellect 
and civilisation had to give 
way to the superior. 

A country such as Egypt 
does not attract the Arab. It 
is a mere kitchen garden, in- 
tensively cultivated, in the 
midst of a desolate waste of 
sand wholly devoid of life, and 
incapable of supporting life in 
any form. "A thread divides 
the desert from the sown " : one 
must either be a unit of the 
teeming multitude who are in- 
dustriously cultivating every 
square foot of the soil, or go 

Such a life to the Arab is 
impossible. He is only at home 

1918.] The Sudan Arab. 165 

in wide spaces, where his live and, wherever the conditions 
stock can find pasturage, and are exceptionally propitious, he 
where, if he wishes, he can will grow his grain. Within 
grow any grain he needs, on the district the head of the 
a communal system. Such a tribe is king indeed. All 
country he finds in the Sudan, questions of occupation not 
which, compared with the ownership of land are settled 
Egyptian kitchen garden, is by him ; all disputes are 
an Empire, with an Empire's primarily referred to him. 
diversity of climates and natural As it was in the days of 
conditions. Egypt is a rain- Abraham, so is it now. His 
less country, dependent for life life is essentially nomadic ; at 
upon the Nile's bounty and times the struggle for exist- 
man's labour in utilising its enoe is hard, and this struggle 
waters. But the Sudan has produces a hardy type of man, 
a rainfall that increases from capable of much greater en- 
practioally nothing in the durance than hi softer neigh- 
north, where it marches with bour of the kitchen garden. 
Egypt, to a fall of 40 or 50 In character, too, he compares 
inches in the south as one favourably with him, due to 
approaches the Abyssinian this struggle and the strength 
foothills. The late Lord Salis- of his tribal tie, which pro- 
bury, intending to be witty, duoes in him a sense ef honour, 
said that he understood the altogether lacking in the 
Sudan to consist chiefly of a Egyptian. 

light sandy soil. He was The following incident is 
wrong. The northern section typical. One day when trek- 
may be so described ; but the king along a path cut through 
Middle and Southern Sudan thorn scrub my cook, who was 
consists entirely of rich oul- riding some distance in front, 
tivable soil: a little block of pulled up his camel into a 
land about 1300 miles long walk, so that I should catch 
by 600 wide ! It is in the him rap, and whispered that 
middle belt that the Arab is he had seen two lion cubs 
chiefly to be found. Here the cross the track. Where the 
rainfall is moderate and the cubs were, there might also 
conditions for him are ideal, be the parents; so I slipped 
The country is free of the off my camel with my rifle, 
subtropical forest growth that and crept into the scrub in 
characterises the southern belt, the direction he had indicated, 
and there is good pasturage The wind was favourable and 
for his flocks and herds over cover good, and I had caught 
wide areas, limited only by sight of my quarry and was 
unwritten conventions that carefully working into a 
mark off a district for his favourable position for a shot 
tribal occupation. Within that when suddenly they bolted, 
district he is free to move at I was certain no movement of 
will, wherever the rainfall has mine had startled them, and, 
produced the best pasturage ; looking round to see the^oause, 


Silhouettes from the Sudan. 


found that my Arab guide had 
followed me into the jungle, 
spear in hand. Angrily I 
asked him why he had fol- 
lowed me and spoiled my stalk. 
His answer completely turned 
away wrath : " What you were 
doing was dangerous ; how 
oould I go baok to my people 
with honour if you were 
killed? I had to share the 
risk with you." 

When travelling among these 
people one comes right baok to 
the beginnings of things. Con- 
ventions of time and distance 
and coinage cease to be of 
value. If an Arab is asked 
how far it is to some place, he 
will answer that it is near, or 
far off, or so many days' jour- 
ney. If near, he probably 
means something less than half 
a day's journey. As hours 
mean nothing to him, it is use- 
less to ask how long it will 
take to reach the place. The 
question must be put to him 
thus: If I start from here at 
sunrise, how high will the sun 
be in the heavens when I arrive 
there if walking? From this 
one deduces how many hours' 
walk it is, therefore what dis- 

His only measure of distance 
is the pace. The Sheikh, when 
parcelling out a piece of ground 
for cultivation, will give each 
man or head of a family a front- 
age and depth of so many paces. 
This area will be allotted solely 
in accordance with the family's 
power to cultivate and need of 
the fruits thereof. This is 
surely the fairest possible sys- 
tem of distribution of land. A 
man's only right to hold land, 
from year to year, is his power 

to make the best use of it. 
Occupancy in previous years is 
in itself no title. 

To these people money is of 
no value, as it does not enter 
into their daily life. Money is 
merely a convention to simplify 
the process of bartering in 
more complicated stages of 
civilisation. The Arabs still 
barter directly. Their wealth 
is counted in their herds of 
cattle or camels, or flocks 
of sheep. To some extent 
they are like boys who boast 
that their collection of stamps 
amounts to so many thousands. 
So an Arab is said to be the 
owner of so many head of cattle 
or camels or sheep. When he 
wants to buy anything cloth- 
ing or the like he will take to 
a market town, possibly many 
days' journey away, some of 
his live stock, and will barter 
it in the market-place for the 
goods he wants. If the travel- 
ler wants to buy a sheep from 
him, the purchase price will not 
be so much in cash, but an 
exchange of anything that the 
traveller possesses that the 
Arab wants. Thus I have 
exchanged a box of matches, 
and on another occasion a 
double handful of flour, for a 
sheep. The purchaser of the 
flour had lived for weeks on 
end on nothing but milk, and 
jumped at the offer of flour 
wherewith to have a feast of 
unleavened bread. Milk they 
give without question. They 
have a superfluity of something 
that the stranger wants, there- 
fore they give. 

Their hospitality and desire 
to honour the stranger when 
passing by their fe encampments 


The Sudan Arab. 


is at times embarrassing when 
one is in a hurry. The honoured 
guest must rest ; he must drink 
coffee. And what coffee ! But 
it takes time, as the beans 
must be roasted and pounded 
before the coffee can be brewed, 
for your Arab knows that so 
only can the perfect flavour be 
obtained. Meanwhile the sun 
is mounting higher in the 
heavens, and the time in ex- 
changing civilities must be 
made up by travelling longer 
in the heat of the day. It may 
be inconvenient or it may be 
merely a nuisance, but it will 
repay you. Not to accept their 
hospitality is looked upon as a 
discourtesy, and you will so 
deprive yourself of the many 
small kindly acts by which they 
can help the traveller on his 

Though the Arab will not 
demean himself by entering 
domestic service, there are 
many ways in which his ser- 
vices are of particular value 
to the white man when travel- 
ling or working in his country. 
Hardy and tireless, excelling in 
the arts of the wilds, he adds 
to these a sense of honour 
that makes him give faithful 
service under all conditions. 
The Egyptian will give honest 
service too, but his devotion 
always resembles cupboard 
love. The Arab's is a finer, 
higher type of honour. And 
because his character is fine, 
it is easy for the white man 
to get into close sympathy 
with him, One meets the 
Arab on a footing of equal- 
ity : each knows that the 
other will play the game. 

It is as oamelmen on trek, 

or as trackers on shooting 
expeditions, that the Arab is 
brought chiefly in contact 
with the white man. For a 
guide or tracker to lose his 
way, even on the blackest 
night, is extremely rare. They 
even seem to possess a sense 
of direction that we have 
quite lost. 

On trek the Arab is peer- 
less. In handling camels, of 
course, he is expert, and his 
powers of endurance are re- 
markable. There can be no 
more comfortable method of 
trekking than with a good 
string of camels. The man 
who has passed the tender- 
foot stage divides his transport 
in two : half the camels, lightly 
loaded, trot with him, carrying 
what he requires at the next 
halt; the rest, fully loaded, 
move at a walk of about three 
miles an hour. The men in 
charge of these camels walk 
with them. If one is travel- 
ling fast, covering forty miles 
a day, the men will do it day 
after day without any sign of 

Such men make fine soldiers, 
and there is probably no finer 
body of men in the world than 
the Arab Battalion of the 
Sudan army. Good shots ; 
obedient, courageous, tireless, 
as steady in defence as in 
attack, wonderfully fast travel- 
lers when needs be. Of their 
famous marches, the following 
is a good example. At 12 noon 
an urgent wire was received 
at their H.Q. that there were 
signs of trouble at a station 
135 miles away ; a double 
company was to be sent there 
as quickly as possible. Two 


Silhouettes from the Sudan. 


hours later they were under 
way. The Britisher in com- 
mand rode, but the men all 
marched, carrying in addition 
to arms and ammunition two 
days' supply ef food and water. 
They were accompanied by a 
few camels, lightly loaded with 
emergency rations, medical 
stores, &o. The organisation 
that enabled 200 men to set 
off thus at two hours' notice 
was very thorough. After 
two days on the road they 
crossed a river near a post, 

where they were able to refill 
their water - skins and draw 
some food. And seventy hours 
after starting they had covered 
the 135 miles without a man 
falling out, not exhausted like 
Marathon runners at the end 
of a race, but in the pink of 
condition, spoiling for a fight. 
But the speed and unexpected- 
ness with which they had 
arrived took the malcontents 
completely by surprise, and 
the threatened trouble fizzled 


Every community has its 
agents for hunting down the 
criminal: these vary in kind 
from the witch - doctors of 
Darkest Africa to the detec- 
tives of Scotland Yard. In 
the Sudan it is the native 
tracker who is called in to 
assist the authorities when 
some mysterious crime has 
been committed, and many a 
criminal has been brought to 
justice by their evidence. The 
tracks on the ground, to their 
unerring eye, will afford evi- 
dence of capital importance, 
just as a careless finger-point 
in highly organised societies 
may be the undoing of old 

The skill of these trackers 
is marvellous. Just as we 
recognise the handwriting of 
our friends, and the profes- 
sional will detect a forgery, 
so the tracks on the ground 
are an open book full of mean- 
ing to the tracker. He will 
state confidently and correctly 
that he knows the footprint 

of every man, woman, and 
child in his village. A tracker 
was taken to the scene of a 
robbery in his village, and at 
once said that the thief was 
a stranger. A traveller had 
halted there a few hours be- 
fore. A mounted policeman 
was sent in pursuit of him : 
his baggage was searched and 
the missing articles were found. 
But for the tracker's confident 
statement that the thief was 
a stranger, he might never 
have been suspected. 

An officer who had lived at 
a station for some months 
came back to it after four 
years' absence. Shortly after 
his arrival he was greeted 
joyfully by an Arab, who had 
known him when he was sta- 
tioned there formerly, with 
the remark, "I was glad to 
see you had come back : I saw 
you had walked through the 
market-place this morning." 
We hear of the arrival of a 
friend : the tracker reads of it 
on the ground. 


One might think that, in the 
Sudan, where camels are left 
to graze at will for days on 
end quite unattended, oamel- 
thieving would be rife. Actu- 
ally it is very rare. To the 
oamelmen every arrival has 
its individual footprint, just 
as easily recognisable to him 
as man's. To the white man 
the only difference discernible 
between two spoors is in their 
size. But the camel owner is 
able to pick out his camel's 
spoor on a road littered, so to 
speak, with other tracks. 

So the camel thief has no 
chance ; he will be followed 
along roads or across country 
until he is run to earth. A 
donkey's track can be followed 
with equal certainty. Neither 
mounted nor on foot has the 
criminal much chance to es- 
cape. This, coupled with the 
knowledge that justice will 
most certainly be meted out, 
keeps the Sudan remarkably 
free from crime. 

Natives who have proved 
their exceptional skill in de- 
ciphering the writing on the 
ground hold a semi-official po- 
sition as Government trackers. 
When a crime that baffles or- 
dinary investigation has been 
committed, one or more of 
them are called in to assist, 
just as detectives are detailed 
to unravel a mystery. And 
their help often means that a 
criminal who otherwise would 
remain undetected is brought 
to justice. Take the case of 
a theft from a native house. 
The owner of the house and 
his neighbours could give the 
authorities no evidence of any 
sort to act on, so a tracker 

Brown Detectives. 


was called in. After the brief- 
est of examinations he asked 
the owner of the house if he 
had any friends among the 
Egyptian soldiers garrisoning 
the town. When the owner 
said he did not even know 
any of them to speak to, the 
detective answered that one 
of them was then the thief, 
for an Egyptian soldier wear- 
ing regulation boots had en- 
tered the house that morning. 
He followed the track away 
from the house until it was 
lost in a dusty thoroughfare. 
So two other trackers were 
called in and shown the foot- 
prints near the house. Then 
the company of soldiers was 
paraded and marched in single 
line across a prepared piece 
of ground swept clean. The 
three trackers were then taken, 
one by one, to the parade- 
ground and told to spot the 
track of the thief. Without 
hesitation all three of them 
pointed out the same track. 
A few searching questions and 
the man was convicted. 

Such a case is straight- 
forward and simple. The fol- 
lowing is a better example of 
the skill that can be displayed 
by the professional. Early one 
morning the officer in charge 
of a station was told that a 
soldier of the garrison had 
been found murdered about a 
mile outside the town. He 
sent at once for his tracker, 
and together they went to the 
eeene of the crime. The man 
had been killed by the down- 
ward stab of a knife in the 
throat. The tracker examined 
the ground round the body, 
then set off towards the town, 


Silhouettes from the Sudan. 


following some tracks only just 
discernible to the white man. 
After walking some distance 
in silence he stopped and said, 
"One man walked out with 
the murdered man, and they 
sat down together near the 
spot where the killing was 
done. They were followed by 
a third man, who joined them. 
The first man left after this 
one arrived, and walked home 
alone. It was the last man 
to arrive who committed the 
murder. He walked straight 
on to the town, the other 
man went straight towards 
the barracks over there. That 
track can wait ; we will follow 
the murderer's." Those were 
bold statements, but he made 
them not believing but know- 
ing them to be correct. It 
was all told as a matter-of- 
fact tale about which there 
could be no doubt. The mur- 
derer's track was accordingly 
followed; it led to a hut in 
the village. After a quick 
look round the tracker in- 
structed a policeman in attend- 
ance to dig at a certain spot. 
At a short distance below 
ground he came upon a blood- 
stained shirt. Holding this up 
the tracker said, "A tall man 
taller than the murdered 
man. The blood has spurted 
on to his chest." The occu- 
pant of the hut, when placed 
under arrest as accessory, at 
once blurted out the name of 
the soldier who had buried the 
shirt there the previous night, 
but said he knew nothing more 
about the matter. The tracker 
then picked up the trail again, 
and followed it until it was 
lost in the paved courtyard 

of a barrack section. This 
confirmed the tale of the 
occupant of the hut, that the 
murderer was another soldier. 
If there had been no further 
clue it would have been neces- 
sary to proceed to an exam- 
ination of the tracks of all 
the occupants of that part of 
the barracks. But the hour 
at which this man had re- 
turned to barracks, and the 
existence of a deadly feud 
between them, clinched the 
matter. Finally, as a matter 
of form, the tracker picked 
out his footprints from among 
half a dozen, and in due course 
he paid the penalty. 

An interesting point in con- 
nection with the escape of 
Slatin Pasha, after his twelve 
years' captivity in Omdurman, 
was told to me by an Arab 

fuide in my employ. When 
latin's flight was discovered, 
this man with two others were 
sent off, mounted on three of 
the Khalifa's finest camels, to 
find out what direction he 
had taken. The tracks of the 
camels on which Slatin and 
his native friends from Egypt 
were mounted were picked up 
close to his dwelling, and lost 
presently on the dusty main 
road. So the three trackers 
oast in a semicircle to pick 
up the tracks farther on. 
Now my guide and one of the 
others, because of a friendly 
feeling towards him, had de- 
cided to give Slatin a sporting 
chance to escape without 
endangering their own necks. 
The third man was loyal to 
the Khalifa. And they man- 
aged to work the business as 
follows. Very soon they crossed 


The Nomad's Sixth Sense. 


the tracks they were looking 
for. If this news had been 
at once taken back, S latin's 
chance of escape would have 
been small. The loyal tracker 
insisted, quite correctly, that 
these were the tracks they 
were looking for. But the 
other two asserted that he 
was wrong ; and two prevailed 
against one, though the one 
was sadly puzzled to under- 
stand how he could be mis- 
taken in recognising a camel 
spoor that he had seen only 
that morning. So the three 

continued on their way, and 
six hours later again out the 
tracks, after travelling in a 
semicircle away from Omdur- 
man. This time all three 
agreed about the spoor (still 
further puzzling the loyalist), 
and started back with their 
information. Correct news 
was then given to the Khalifa ; 
all three trackers were safe; 
but Slatin had twelve extra 
hours' start, and those precious 
extra hours probably made all 
the difference between success 
and failure. 


Mankind is said to possess 
five senses. The degree of 
development to which these 
attain depend wholly on en- 
vironment and circumstance, 
The aouteness of the senses 
of sight and hearing possessed 
by the dweller in open spaces 
far surpasses that of the city 
man; but the senses of the 
city man, who is transferred 
to the wilderness, will slowly 
but surely improve. 

It is not to be wondered at 
that the nomad who has never 
dwelt in cities, and feels lost 
when visiting one, possesses an 
aouteness of senses that the 
white man can never hope to 
attain. In such matters as 
tracking, the white man can 
improve beyond belief by prao- 
tioe, if he concentrates on it 
and learns to think like an 
animal when following it by 
its tracks. But the nomad 
tracks without thinking, and 
as often as not cannot explain 
to you why he has come to 

certain conclusions. The marks 
on the ground are an open 
book to him; the white man 
at best is translating a rather 
difficult "unseen." Men have 
been hanged on the evidence 
of trackers. 

More remarkable still than 
his powers of tracking is what 
I call the nomad's sixth sense 
his sense of direction: this 
is almost entirely lost to the 
more highly civilised. 

Suppose that, in unknown 
country with no distinctive 
features to act as guiding 
points, you leave camp A 
and walk several miles to B, 
then change direction and 
walk to C. By taking corn- 
pass bearings, &o., of your 
route, you might be able to 
find your way back from C 
to A. But tell an Arab with 
you to guide you back, and 
he will do it : how, he cannot 
explain ; he just knows that 
camp A lies in that direction. 
Or, make a mark in the 


Silhouettes from the Sudan. 


ground at C ; months per- 
haps years afterwards your 
Arab will lead you straight 
back to it. 

This is not an acquired skill. 
A small boy who had been 
brought from El Obeid, vid 
Khartum, to Kassala towns 
a few hundred miles apart 
from each other pointed out 
immediately on being asked 
in what directions Khartum 
and El Obeid lay. He had 
not been educated, and a 
map would have had no 
meaning for him. Imagine 
an English boy, taken from 
London to Aberdeen, and 
thenoe to Dublin, pointing 
out the directions in which 
the former places lay ! 

Many a time in my wander- 
ings I benefited by this sense 
of direction of the native. 
The following is a striking 
illustration. Happening to be 
about twenty miles distant 
from the undiscovered junc- 
tion of two important rivers, 
I decided to try to find it 
and fix its position on the 
map. Luok was with me all 
the way. From a native en- 
campment near by I obtained 
the services of two natives, 
who said they could guide 
me to the junction; and the 
same afternoon at 3 P.M. we 

Our route lay all the way 
through acacia forest, over 
badly cracked cotton soil. 
There was no sign of a track, 
and I have never seen any- 
thing more uniform in lack of 
features than that forest. The 
guides led the way ; I followed 
about fifty yards behind, com- 
pass in one hand and watch in 
the other, in order to make a 

rough open traverse of our 
course. Behind me came my 
transport the camels floun- 
dering badly in the cracked 
soil. Every few hundred 
yards I checked the com- 
pass bearing on which the 
guides were walking, and it 
was marvellously constant. 
There were no guiding marks 
or distinguishing features of 
any sort the view in any 
direction being limited by the 
forest to a quarter of a mile at 
the outside. About 6 o'clock 
the guides stopped, and said 
that if I stood up on my camel 
I might be able to see, through 
the tree tops, a hog - backed 
hill in a certain direction. 
They were correct: there it 
was, just visible, half a mile or 
so away. Before starting off 
again, I emptied a tin of 
tobacco into my pouch and 
threw away the tin. One of 
the guides picked it up and 
placed it in the fork of a tree, 
saying that he would return 
for it some day. That tree 
was exactly like any other of 
the millions around us, yet 
that man knew that he could 
find it when he wanted to. 

When we started again, still 
that unvarying direction. The 
sun set, and presently we 
were marching by the light of 
the young moon. But nothing 
upset those wizards. About 
8 o'clock we halted for the 

As there was no moon to 
help me to read my compass 
in the morning, I delayed the 
start until there was sufficient 
daylight, getting under way 
at 6 A.M. And still that 
undeviating course. About 8 
o'clock they halted, and told 


Fighting the Mosquito. 


me to look, from camel baok, 
for a double-topped hill to the 
right of the course. There it 
was, exactly where they said 
it would be. On starting 
again, they changed course 
about 30, and an hour later 
we suddenly emerged from the 
forest at the edge of the 
plateau. And there, 200 feet 
below us, and a couple of miles 
away, were three silver threads 

the two rivers and their 
combined stream. Well in- 
deed had they guided me, to 
this clearing right above the 
junction : but how ? 

Abyssinian mountains in the 
far distance gave me deter- 
mined points by which to fix 
the position of the junction 
and stream courses, and an- 
other doubtful point on the 
map was cleared up. 


When the French, after their 
brilliant execution of the Suez 
Canal, undertook to construct 
the Panama Canal, nobody 
could foresee that their enter- 
prise would end in failure. 
Had they not the experience 
of the previous work to 
guide them, a trained per- 
sonnel of splendid engineers, 
and unlimited public confid- 
ence to help them? And yet 
they failed. The cause of 
failure was chiefly ascribed to 
the difficulty in obtaining 
labour, and this was due to 
the known large sick -rate and 
heavy mortality among those 
on the works. What they 
did not know was that their 
defeat was, first and last, 
caused by a mosquito or 
rather, two mosquitoes. Their 
medical and hospital arrange- 
ments were, for that period, 
splendid. Mosquitoes were, 
like any other buzzing and 
biting insects^ looked upon 
merely as a nuisance; and to 
limit the nuisance they used 
netting to some extent. They 
put down the two main sick- 
nesses that filled their hospi- 
tals and emptied their gangs 

to the inherent unhealthiness 
of the district, to the very 
vague miasmic vapours that 
rose up out of the scrub and 
swamps at night, causing in 
some indefinite way the twin 
pests of malaria and yellow 
fever. They knew no better; 
the world in general knew 
no better; and they were 

Too late for them came 
Pasteur and a host of other 
investigators, gradually prov- 
ing beyond dispute the miorobio 
origin of disease. The anti- 
viviseotionists railed ; but these 
benefactors of mankind, and of 
the animal world as well, held 
on their way, discovering the 
specific germ of one disease 
after another. With the or- 
ganism determined, they did 
not rest from their labours : 
the battle was only joined. 
The next step was to find 
out how the organism was 
introduced into the body, so 
that its entrance might as far 
as possible be prevented ; and 
how, when introduced, it might 
be combated and rendered in- 

Among those diseases in- 


Silhouettes from the Sudan. 


vestigated, and conquered, 
were malaria and yellow fever 
the plagues that had defeated 
the French at Panama. It was 
found that in the case of each, 
one particular breed of mos- 
quito, and no other, was re- 
sponsible for spreading the 
disease, for carrying it from 
the infected to the healthy. 
The mosquito itself by its 
bite did not cause the disease ; 
it merely acted as host, When 
biting the infected, it took into 
its organisation the microbe 
that caused the disease ; in its 
organisation alone could the 
microbe live while in transit, 
so to speak; then when it 
transferred its affections to 
another human body, and bit 
deep, the microbe was able to 
pass and so carry, or rather 
cause, the new infection. To 
cause an epidemic, therefore, 
of malaria or yellow fever, all 
that was necessary was some 
one infected with the disease 
and a goodly supply of the 
particular brand of mosqui- 
toes to spread the infection. 
With that much known, there 
was some chance of fighting 
the diseases. Antitoxins were 
discovered to fight the poison 
in the blood; but, as preven- 
tion is always better than 
cure, it was obvious that the 
best and most certain way of 
combating the diseases was by 
waging ruthless war against 
the mosquito. To do this the 
life history and habit of the 
mosquito had to be carefully 
studied. After these investiga- 
tions had been carried out, and 
methods for exterminating the 
mosquito in any particular area 
had been proved, the Ameri- 
cans undertook the completion 

of the Panama Canal, and suc- 
ceeded. With the mosquito 
laid by the heels, their task 
became a straightforward en- 
gineering proposition. 

In the far-away period before 
the war it fell to the lot of an 
official to undertake the pre- 
liminary works for the construc- 
tion of a large dam on the 
Upper Nile in a district that 
was notoriously malarial, so 
much so that it was foreseen 
that sickness was one of the 
serious difficulties that would 
have to be contended against. 
In the scattered native villages 
around the site malaria was 
rife. Tests had shown that 
even infants only a fortnight 
old were already infected. 
By a process of acquired 
immunity the natives become 
in the course of time little 
affected by the disease; they 
were, however, just as po- 
tent sources of infection, and 
malaria's particular mosquito, 
the Anopheles, was there in 

If the work could have been 
carried out with immune local 
labour all would have been 
fairly simple, but it was alto- 
gether deficient both in num- 
bers and quality. So labour 
amounting to anything up to 
5000 men would have to be im- 
ported from the healthy north- 
ern regions of the Sudan and 
from Egypt, with a considerable 
proportion of Europeans for 
supervision and the more skilled 
parts of the work. If these 
went sick in shoals it would 
be disastrous as disastrous as 
the experience of the French 
at Panama. But there was 
the knowledge acquired since 
those days to help, and the 


Fighting the Mosquito. 


praotioal applioatiou of the 
knowledge as proved by the 

The facts, fatal to the Ano- 
pheles, that had been established 
were shortly these. He can 
breed only in stagnant water. 
If that water is overgrown 
with weeds so much the better. 
The period from the time when 
the mosquito lays her eggs 
until her offspring emerges from 
the water is about fourteen 
days. The length of flight in 
still air is only about half a 
mile from water. As he is 
low-powered, he hates a breeze. 
Nice stagnant air to fly in, after 
nice stagnant water to breed 
in, is his ideal. 

Armed with these facts, the 
official set to work to make the 
site of the dam so uncomfort- 
able, or impossible, for the 
mosquito that he would quit 
business in the district. Two 
things he insisted on that he 
should be given the funds he 
required, and that he should 
have absolutely despotic power, 
as regards their habitations, 
over all who lived within two 
miles of the site. These con- 
ditions were granted. When 
operations were started in win- 
ter mosquito nets at night were 
essential. Within a oouple of 
months they became super- 

With a party of five hundred 
men, all forest scrub and grass 
were out and burnt over the 
prescribed area, and pools at 
the river's edge were filled in 
or drained, and native wells 
filled up : they could go to the 
Nile for their water, or leave 
the area, as they chose. An 
area of well over 10,000 acres 
had thus been made quite un- 

inhabitable for the mosquito; 
there remained only the possi- 
bility of his being given a lift 
into the heart of the area, and 
then finding harbourage in 
some household jar or vessel 
for holding water. To prevent 
this possibility, the despotic 
powers again came in. It was 
laid down that every house- 
holder of every description, 
from the lowliest description to 
the official himself, must on 
Sunday see that all water re- 
ceptacles in his house were 
emptied and dried in the sun. 
To ensure that the order was 
obeyed, house-to-house inspec- 
tion by the despot or his dele- 
gate was made, and a scale of 
fines laid down for the offender. 
The extreme period of harbour- 
age for a mosquito, imported 
by accident, was thus some- 
thing less than seven days, so 
that propagation was impos- 

By these means the mosquito 
was completely eliminated from 
the area occupied for the works. 
But this had all happened in 
the dry season, during the early 
months of the year. The real 
test would come during the 
rains, which last from about 
the end of June until the 
middle of September. In this 
period it is quite possible for 
two, or even three, inches of 
rain to fall during one night, 
converting any small hollows 
that may be found into tempo- 
rary miniature lakes. A chain 
of these, less than half a mile 
apart from each other, might 
easily act as a "line of com- 
munioation," by which the 
mosquito might enter the for- 
bidden zone. So detailed sur- 
veys were carried out in every 


Silhouettes from the Sudan. 


direction, to discover all such 
hollows ; and then drainage 
lines were cut, connecting them 
with the river, so that all water 
that collected in the hollows 
might run away quickly, and 
so cut the mosquito's communi- 

When the rains came there 
were about 2500 men in the 
camp, including about 100 
Europeans. Practically none 
of these had had malaria, and 
it was the official's ambition 
that there should be no oases of 
fresh infection among them. 
The rains were about normal, 
while the river was above 
normal, so that the drains were 
tested under difficult condi- 
tions. But they kept the 
hollows clear of water, while 
gangs of men waged incessant 
warfare against the rank 
growth of grass. 

The outbreak of the Great 
War put a stop to the works. 
In the middle of September 
the closing down of the camp 
started, and by the middle of 
October it was emptied of all 
except watchmen and suchlike. 
But the rainy season had come 
and gone before then ; the 
mosquito had been foiled ; not 
a single case of malaria had 
occurred among the imported 
labour. They say it is safe to 
argue from large numbers. 
As already stated, the cajnp 
consisted of about 2500 men. 
And as these had been safely 
carried through a wet season, 
in a malarial district, without 
infection, proof was afforded, if 
proof was still necessary, that 
the mosquito is a very second- 
rate adversary if proper 
measures to fight him are 


The more highly civilised a 
country becomes, the more is 
the work of every one special- 
ised. Man becomes a machine, 
of high or low grade according 
to his ability, doing the same 
thing or same nature of thing, 
hour after hour and year after 
year. This doubtless makes 
for efficiency (accursed word) 
and monotony. But so much 
is efficiency prized by the high- 
grade machine that I once 
heard the head of a large 
manufacturing firm say that 
the methods of the old Arab 
slave- dealers were most in- 
efficient, because they lost 
somewhere about 30 per cent 
of their wares when taking 
them to market; if they had 

travelled slower and looked 
after their captives better, 
they would have been able to 
deliver a much higher per- 
centage of their goods at their 
destination. And this highly 
respectable town councillor 
and, I think, church -warden 
was not jesting; he was able 
to regard the abominable 
traffic from a purely com- 
mercial point of view. That 
was his practice, to reduce 
everything to rates and per- 
centages, and so arrive at 
indices of efficiency. But my 
manufacturer did not consider 
himself to be pitied in any 
way ; in fact, sunny self- 
satisfaction was his leading 
characteristic, coupled with a 


Diverse Duties. 


prodigious capacity for carry- 
ing on a one-sided conversation 
on thoroughly uninteresting 
subjects, with an endurance of 
100 per cent efficiency. He 
is, alas ! too old to fight ; 
otherwise the war might have 
been his salvation. Though 
even that is improbable. His 
efficiency-monomania was so in- 
grained that he probably would 
have stopped in the middle of 
an attack to work out the rela- 
tive effectiveness of machine- 
gun and rapid rifle fire. 

In a backward country 
specialisation to any high 
degree is impossible. The 
native worker must be able 
to turn his hand to a score 
of different trades : he must 
be his own carpenter, though 
his only tool may be an axe; 
he must be his own saddler; 
he must be his own tiller of 
the soil ; he must be his own 
butcher and cook; he must, 
in short, be able to undertake 
everything that is necessary 
for his own existence. And 
so, also, the official overseeing 
such a people must be able 
to carry out a very varied 
assortment of 'functions. It 
may appear to the high-grade 
merchant or globe-trotter from 
home that he carries out none 
of his duties with 100 per 
cent efficiency : that he is an 
amateur trying to impersonate 
a number of very different 
characters at one and the same 
time. But it is easy, in such 
matters, to criticise. If the 
groove- worn specialist tried his 
hand at the game, he would 
probably find, to his surprise, 
that while he was studying 
some small detail with metio- 


ulous care, he was failing hope- 
lessly to deal with much larger 
essentials. He might come to 
realise that high specialisation 
is impossible when one must 
be a jaok-of-all-trades, and he 
might even appreciate the 
advantages of more variety 
in work with less perfect 

In the Sudan an official 
must know a little about 
everything, with a good deal 
about something. The civil 
servant, besides administering 
justice, must be able, from his 
knowledge of crops, to increase 
or remit taxation; he may be 
called upon at any time to 
act as doctor or surgeon ; he 
must be able to give advice 
on improved methods of culti- 
vation; he must be prepared 
to put forward schemes of 
engineering to benefit his dis- 
trict one way or another; if 
his duties take him into little- 
known parts of the country, 
he will be expected to pro- 
duce maps and reports on the 
country traversed ; and so on. 
He may have been a specialist, 
by profession, in some one of 
the multitude of duties that 
it will fall to his lot to per- 
form. His special knowledge 
will soon become blunted 
amidst his varied activities; 
but he will acquire an assort- 
ment of skill in other direc- 
tions, in order that the native, 
who expects the white man 
to know everything, will not 
be disappointed when he asks 
for advice or help or a decision 
on some important point. 

The possibility of having to 
deal with all sorts of different 
questions at short notice is, 


Silhouettes from the Sudan. 


when all is said and done, one 
of the charms of life in such 
a country as the Sudan, and 
goes far to compensate one 
for the manifold discomforts 
that must be endured. Take 
the following day's work as 
an example. I was travelling 
by camel, far beyond the point 
to which the railway had been 
carried at that time, following 
the course of one of the south- 
ern rivers, and had reached a 
place above which I was in- 
structed to search the river 
bed and banks for some miles 
for any outcrop of rook that 
might indicate possible foun- 
dations for a dam. As there 
was no track by the river that 
the camels oould follow, I had 
to do my work on foot, and 
therefore made a start as soon 
as it was daylight, to avoid 
having to travel in the extreme 
heat of the day, while I pushed 
my way through the scrub and 
jungle at the edge of the river. 
The camels kept to the higher 
ground inland, where there 
was a out track through 
the forest ; and connection 
was maintained between me 
and my transport by one 
mounted oamelman, who reg- 
ulated the pace of the trans- 
port according to the progress 
I made. (To lose one's trans- 
port in such country, even for 
half a day, is a calamity.) It 
was slow hot work on foot, 
but always interesting. Croco- 
diles slipped off the sand- 
banks into deep water as I 
approached, and monkeys in 
myriads swarmed up the larger 
trees and gibbered as I passed, 
while there was always some- 
thing new and curious to note 
in the scrub. But my search 

for rook failed; nothing was 
to be seen but crumbling mud- 
banks and sandy shoals in the 
river-bed. So towards midday 
I called in my transport, and 
halted for lunch and rest until 
the worst of the heat of the 
day was over before getting 
under way again. 

My next objective was a 
small native settlement about 
twenty miles farther up the 
river, where an enterprising 
sheikh was growing a patch 
of cotton from special Egyptian 
seed given to him by Gov- 
ernment. A report on the 
appearance of the crop was 
wanted. Starting at about 
3 o'clock, and riding fast by 
the inland track, I hoped to 
reach the settlement by 7 P.M., 
in comfortable time to camp 
there for the night. So I 
was in no humour to stop for 
trivialities when, on passing 
a native village about 5 
o'clock, the sheikh ran out to 
intercept me. But his first 
words showed that the busi- 
ness to be dealt with was far 
from trivial. As I sat on my 
camel he told me in few words 
that there had been a fight 
between two men one was 
killed and the other seriously 
wounded he had sent off a 
messenger to the District 
Officer (thirty miles away) to 
obtain authority to bury the 
slain man, but his messenger 
oould not return or bring the 
officer until the following 
afternoon, therefore would I 
stop and deal with the case? 
There was nothing else for it, 
my time-table must be aban- 
doned, and I accompanied the 
sheikh to the village after 
telling my head-bey to halt 


Diverse Duties. 


the camels and get out writ- 
ing materials and my medicine 
chest. A short examination 
of the victim showed that 
he was dead, with his skull 
split open. Next I saw the 
wounded man and heard his 
story. In the morning their 
flocks had met, and an argu- 
ment had arisen as regards 
which flock a particular sheep 
belonged to. (It was not a 
question of how many sheep 
there were in each flock : a 
Sudan shepherd knows every 
sheep in his flock without dis- 
tinctive markings of any kind.) 
From words they had come to 
blows, fighting with the short 
narrow -headed axes that the 
Arabs carry, and he had killed 
his man, after being seriously 
wounded and nearly spent, by 
a lucky blow at his head. He 
told his story in a weak voice, 
lying on an angareb, while 
I washed and dressed his 
wounds. Meanwhile a camp 
table and chair had been placed, 
with writing materials, in the 
shadow of a tree at the edge of 
the village. First, I gave the 
sheikh written authority to 
bury the dead man ; this he 
passed to his Wakil with orders 
to carry out the interment at 
once. Then I made out a 
statement of the facts of the 
case as I had gleaned them to 
serve as a preliminary inquiry, 
and instructed the sheikh to 
take this, with the wounded 
man on a donkey, to the Dis- 
trict Headquarters, where, after 
treatment in hospital, the man 
would have to stand his trial 
for manslaughter. Meanwhile 
the sheikh would be respon- 
sible for the custody of the 
prisoner until handed over to 

the civil authority. All this 
had to be put down in writing 
and copies taken, so that it 
was past 6 o'clock before I got 
under way again ; and, after 
travelling for about an hour, I 
camped for the night. I started 
off at dawn, and when nearing 
my destination where the cotton 
was to be inspected, I overtook 
the village sheikh with the 
wounded man. He had trav- 
elled slowly through the night 
for the good of his patient 
rather than expose him to the 
heat of the sun. Stopping my 
camel, I examined him, not as 
a magistrate but as a medical 
man, and finding that he was 
standing the journey all right, 
I told the sheikh to carry on. 

I spent a happy hour with 
my agricultural friend, found 
that he had carried out the 
instructions as regards the 
methods of cultivation thor- 
oughly, and that the cotton 
was promising well. Incident- 
ally, such experiments are of 
the greatest value, for they may 
prove that cotton of first-class 
quality can be grown over vast 
areas of the Southern Sudan 
as a rain crop, and therefore 
without any outlay of capital 
on the part of the Government 
in the shape of expensive irri- 
gation works. 

Two days later I arrived at 
the Headquarters of the Pro- 
vince, handed in my cepies of 
the papers in connection with 
the killing, made out reports 
on the various objects of my 
journey, and after a few days 
in comfortable surroundings 
set off again to work out a new 
route to a village about seventy 
miles away across uncharted 
country of swamp and forest. 





THE rapid multiplication of 
Sinn Fein Clubs in Ireland sets 
students of history thinking, 
and suggests parallels from the 
past. We have had Leagues 
and Federations galore in Ire- 
land for the past half century, 
we oan almost mark the 
deoades by them : the Tenant 
Bight League, the Land 
League, the Irish National 
League, the Irish National 
Federation, the United Irish 
League, but for a previous 
organisation of clubs over- 
spreading the country we 
must go back to Smith 
O'Brien's Rebellion of 1848. 

"Forty-eight" was a year 
of revolutions. From end to 
end of Europe there was 
political unrest ; it would have 
been strange if Ireland had 
escaped the fever, for the soil 
and the conditions were con- 
genial for an outbreak. A 
few years earlier Disraeli had 
epigrammatioally summed up 
the situation: "A starving 
population, an absentee aris- 
tocracy, an alien church, and, 
in addition, the weakest ex- 
ecutive in the world there is 
the Irish question." On top 
of this came the famine the 
Great Hunger, and the black 
'47. The " Clubs " of '48 were 
borrowed from the French 
model. Indeed, it would be 
safe to say that, but for the 
coup d'etat of February '48 in 
France, there would have been 
no collision of July '48 in 

Ireland. "The red fool-fury 
of the Seine" found its echo 
by the Liffey and the Shannon 
shore. For a second time, as 
in 1789, France had "stamped 
her strong foot and said she 
would be free." Ireland would 
do the same. As the French 
cataclysm of 1789 and the 
September massacres of '93 
led on to the United Irishmen 
and " '98," so the French up- 
heaval of 1848 had its counter- 
part in Ireland in the Confed- 
erate Clubs and the escapade 
in the Cabbage-garden. Young 
Ireland was swept off its feet 
by the happenings in Paris. 
From platform and press eager 
tongues and eager pens pro- 
claimed that the time was 
come "to set old Ireland free." 
So men began to "fraternise" 
and form Clubs, to wear the 
tricolor and talk of barricades, 
and generally to imitate the 
vivacious people by the Seine. 
Those blessed words, " Liberty, 
Equality, Fraternity," were 
in all men's mouths, and 
the greatest of them was 
Liberty : 

" Yes, Ireland will be free 
From the centre to the sea, 
Then hurrah for Liberty ! 
Says the Shan Van Vocht." 

But the stamping of the 
Confederates in '48 was a 
very different thing from the 
stamping of their sturdy pre- 
cursors of half a century be- 
fore, just as Wolfe Tone, most 


The Irish Rebellion of " Forty-Eight." 


thorough- paoed and clever of 
rebels, was a different man 
from Smith O'Brien. The 
eponymous leader of the '48 
it is generally known as 
Smith O'Brien's rebellion 
was one of the strangest figures 
in all the stormy periods of 
Irish politics. A man of a dif- 
ferent type, but one who like 
O'Brien was generally in revolt, 
Haziitt, said of himself, " I 
started with the Revolution." 
O'Brien might have said the 
same. He was born in 1803, 
the year of Robert Emmet's 
rising, five years after the 
horrors of " Ninety-Eight," and 
less than three after the Union, 
which changed the form of 
government but did not change 
men's hearts or dispositions. 
He grew up to boyhood in the 
turbulent times of the Conti- 
nental wars, when Ireland 
touched the lowest depths of 
lawlessness, when Coercion Acts 
were hardy annuals, and sus- 
pension of Habeas Corpus was 
frequent. He was twenty-five 
when O'Connell won the Clare 
election which led to Catholic 
Emancipation. A born aristo- 
crat, a child of Ireland's most 
ancient race, he derived in 
direct descent from Brian the 
Brave, who won Clontarf 
against the Danes in 1014. 
From that date for five cen- 
turies the lauv laudher, the 
strong hand of the O'Briens, 
was generally uppermost when- 
ever there was any fighting to 
be done. In Henry VIII.'s 
time they exchanged their royal 
dignity and rude independence 
for English titles and English 
protection. King of Munster 
gave place to Earl of Thomond 

and Baron Inchiquin ; but the 
fighting spirit remained. Dur- 
ing the Civil War, 1643-48, 
Colonel Connor O'Brien held 
Leamenagh Castle, one of their 
strongholds in Clare, against 
the Parliamentary troops, and 
lost his life in doing so. His 
widow, Maire Ruadh, Red Mary, 
of whom thrilling tales are 
still told by cabin firesides in 
County Clare, saved the heredi- 
tary property by marrying one 
of Cromwell's officers. 

From such a stock sprang 
William Smith O'Brien, the 
pathetic figure of "Forty- 
Eight." Wayward, fitful, ro- 
mantic, visionary, a man of 
high probity, he was never 
bought or sold. He displeased 
all parties because he would 
" stoop for no man's lure." " I 
honestly avow," said his ad- 
vocate Whiteside, " I was pre- 
judiced against all his opinions, 
and at one time thought him 
an obstinate, impracticable, 
absurd man, with whom no one 
could agree." No one had less 
to gain or more to lose by play- 
ing the rebel. It is idle to 
ascribe his course of action to 
vanity, as is sometimes done. 
That he had a passionate love 
for his country, and that he 
honestly believed her to be 
abominably treated, is clear. 
This and some stern inexorable 
'Avdy/crj " no one can be more 
wise than Destiny" may ex- 
plain the position in which he 
found himself in the summer 
of '48. For it was not till the 
eleventh hour, as will presently 
appear, that he declared for 
open rebellion. 

O'Brien out adrift from his 
party and his family oonnec- 


The Irish Rebellion of "forty-Bight." 


tions in 1843, and joined the 
Repealers, but he was never 
comfortable under O'Connell's 
aegis, and in 1846, the year of 
the Liberator's death, he iden- 
tified himself directly with the 
Young Ireland movement, ably 
led by Davis and Duffy, who 
found that O'ConnelPs "tail" 
wagged too slowly for them. 

In January 1847, the awful 
year of the Famine, when thou- 
sands died of hunger, and a 
quarter of a million of people 
fled the country in dismay, 
an association was founded in 
Dublin the Irish Federation 
whose leading spirits were 
O'Brien, Meagher, Dillon, 
O'Gorman, Doheny, the same 
men who afterwards took the 
lead on the hillsides of Tip- 
perary. During that year the 
organisation was fairly active 
and gathered strength, but 
early in '48 it received a 
strong fillip from the outbreak 
of February 24 in France. It 
was O'Brien's conviction that, 
"if events be favourable abroad, 
we have it in our power to win 
the restoration of the Irish 
Parliament in this country 
within twelve months." But 
for the moment "what he 
would highly that would he 
holily," and while Mitchel was 
advocating " a deliberate study 
of the theory and practice of 
guerilla warfare," O'Brien con- 
sidered it would be consummate 
rashness to attempt an imme- 
diate appeal to arms. The in- 
surrection, he admitted, would 
be put down in a week (a fairly 
accurate forecast of the actual 
revolt subsequently), and the 
Government could starve the 
people by stopping the supplies 

of food which were necessarily 
derived from abroad. 

When he first became a Re- 
pealer, he declared that the 
man who adopted measures 
which might cost the life of 
a single human being incurred 
a fearful responsibility, which 
nothing but the gravest ex- 
tremities of national danger 
could sanction. A month of 
civil war would produce incal- 
culable miseries to all classes 
of the population. In January 
1847 he says, "I have repeat- 
edly denounced the fatuity and 
wickedness of resorting to 
physical force, except upon 
such occasions as would afford 
a full justification for its exer- 
cise in accordance with the 
views of the soundest moral- 
ists and the best writers on 
the British Constitution." And 
as late as February '48 he 
proposed a series of resolutions 
in the Irish Confederation, one 
of which ran, "That to hold 
out to the Irish people the 
hope that in this present 
broken and divided condition 
they can liberate their country 
by an appeal to arms, and con- 
sequently to divert them from 
constitutional action, would be 
in our opinion a fatal misdirec- 
tion of the public mind." The 
keynote of these resolutions 
(there were eight) was "that 
this Confederation was estab- 
lished to attain an Irish Parlia- 
ment by the combination of 
classes and by the force of 
opinion exercised in constitu- 
tional operations, and that no 
means of a contrary character 
can be recommended or pro- 
moted through its organisation 
while its present fundamental 


The Irish Rebellion of " Forty- Eight." 


rules remain unaltered." In 
constitutional operations we 
are still a world away from 
the barricades at Killenaule 
and the widow M'Cormaok's 
oabbage- patch. 

Then came the coup d'e'tat 
of 24th February in France. 
Events began to move more 
rapidly. A newer and a bolder 
tone was evident at a meet- 
ing in Dublin on March 15. 
Words like "fraternity," "the 
barricades," "the queen of 
weapons, the pike," are con- 
spicuous in the oratory. " Fra- 
ternity " is to be the new note 
fraternity between Southern 
Catholics and Protestant far- 
mers of the North, who used 
to be inveterate Orangemen, 
but were beginning to fear 
for their tenant right; fra- 
ternity with the English 
Repealers ; fraternity with the 
soldiers, they did not neces- 
sarily put off all instincts of 
humanity when they put on 
a red ooat, and were not the 
Scottish soldiers, the High- 
land regiments, like the Irish 
themselves, children of the 
Gael ? fraternity with the 
police very deftly was the 
net spread in the sight of 
that particular bird. "You 
have been in the habit of 
looking on the police force, 
many of you, as a hostile 
force. I say that sentiment 
ought to be discharged from 
your bosoms. The police force 
are Irishmen like yourselves. 
There are ten thousand of 
them. They are as fine a 
body of men as ever held a 
musket, and if their energies 
were properly directed they 
would become the safeguard 

of this country. I will not 
invite you to regard them as 
your enemies. Of course, as 
long as the present state of 
things exists they are quite 
sure of losing their places if 
they should manifest any sym- 
pathy with the people; but 
if they knew that the time 
was rapidly coming when 
every exertion made by such 
a force as that to vindicate 
the freedom of this country 
would be appreciated and 
prized and become the sub- 
ject of future honour through- 
out all generations to them 
and their posterity, I cannot 
believe that ten thousand 
Irishmen clad in their native 
green would be found the 
enemies of Irishmen." The 
meeting punctuated these re- 
marks with loud applause. 

O'Brien also insisted on 
the importance of fraternising 
with the people of the United 
States and of the formation 
of an Irish brigade in America, 
ready disciplined and enrolled 
to form the nucleus of an 
Irish army, to return to the 
country when repeal was won, 
and to serve for the defence 
and guardianship of their 
native land. It is worthy of 
note that already that close 
sympathy between America 
certain sections of America 
and Ireland, which has char- 
acterised all the later phases 
of political agitation, was 
established and first became 
conspicuous in the famine 
years. "We have had abun- 
dant evidence, at the time 
when it appeared to the in- 
habitants of that country that 
the agitation was likely to 

184 The Irish Rebellion of " Forty-Eight" [Feb. 

produce serious fruits we placarded on every police 

have had abundant evidence, barrack in Ireland, which in- 

by testimonies of sympathy dicated that the Government 

and large remittances of had little fault to find with 

money, that the people of its terms. F6ted in Dublin 

the United States cordially on 15th April on their return, 

sympathised with us in the O'Brien, producing the Volun- 

struggle." teer flag of '82, suggested 

But to fraternise was not that it might become the flag 
enough. He thought it most of the National Guard of '48. 
desirable that all intelligent In the previous week, on 10th 
young men, especially those April, he had made his last 
engaged in engineering and speech in the House of Corn- 
surveying and similar pur- mons during the debate on 
suits, should "apply their the second reading of the 
minds to the best methods Treason Felony Bill, and 
of taking strong places and warned the Government that 
defending weak ones." These if Irish claims for a separate 
would form a portion of the Legislature were refused dur- 
sappers and miners of the ing the present year they 
future Irish army. Meagher, would have to encounter the 
a younger man and more chance of a republic in Ire- 
audacious, went one better, land. He candidly admitted 
He proposed that delegates be that he had been instrumental 
sent over to London to de- in asking his countrymen to 
mand an audience of the arm. 

Queen. If yielded, then they The Treason Felony Bill 

should implore Her Majesty, passed into law on April 22. 

by virtue of her royal pre- Seditious speeches at that 

rogative, to establish a par- time were only misdemeanours 

liament in Dublin; if refused? in Ireland, although treason 

Up the barricades and let the in England ; and as seditious 

god of battles decide I speeches and writings were be- 

A few days later O'Brien, coming plentiful, with a view 
Meagher, and O'Gorman were to stem the tide the Treason 
appointed as a deputation to Felony Act was passed, which 
convey a congratulatory mes- made it a felony in both 
sage to the Provisional Gov- countries to compass, imagine, 
eminent in France. They or levy war against the 
went, and returned early Queen, and to express such 
in April. Lamartine received intention by open and ad- 
them kindly, and gave them vised speaking, or the publi- 
a soft answer so happily cation of any printed or 
framed as to satisfy both the written document. The Act 
deputation and the British was soon dubbed "The Gag- 
Government. He had no in- ging Act " by the Confederates, 
tention of interfering in the Its first victim was John 
domestic policy of England. Mitchel, who, early in May, 
A copy of his reply was was brought to trial for oer- 


The Irish Rebellion of " Forty -Eight." 


tain articled published in the 
* United Irishman.* He was 
convicted and sentenced to 
transportation for fourteen 
years. More than any single 
event Mitohel's conviction 
hastened the outbreak. From 
that date it was only a ques- 
tion of selecting a suitable 
time, of counting the proba- 
bilities of success. On the 
jury that convicted Mitohel 
there was not one Catholic. 
"All men," says O'Brien, "felt 
that the sacred institution of 
trial by jury had been dar- 
ingly violated, and that, even 
though his legal guilt might 
be undeniable, he had been 
deprived most unjustifiably of 
a fair trial." A number of 
Mitohel's friends Meagher 
being foremost were resolved 
to effect his rescue, and this 
was to be the signal for a 
general rising. Big words 
were used and sanguinary 
pictures painted. If Mitohel 
left Green Street in a felon's 
van, it would be over a hurdle 
of Irish bodies. The vessel 
that carried off John Mitchel 
as a convict would have to 
cleave its way through an 
ocean of Irish blood. Despite 
these protestations, the felon's 
van conveyed its burden from 
Green Street in due course, 
without encountering a hurdle 
on the way; and the Shear- 
water sailed with Mitchel, the 
fiery apostle of the new gospel, 
on board, yet no effusion of 
Confederate blood incarna- 
dined the green waters of 
Dublin Bay. 

There is little doubt, how- 
ever, that but for O'Brien's 
exertions there would have 

been a rising then and there. 
In an address of the Con- 
federation Council to the 
Irish people on June 1 
O'Brien in the chair he says : 
" We will not conceal from 
you we will not conceal from 
the Government that no- 
thing but the most strenuous 
exertions of our Council pre- 
vented the outbreak of an 
insurrection last week. Thou- 
sands of brave men had 
resolved that John Mitchel 
should not leave the Irish 
shore except across their 
corpses. We apprehended that 
under present circumstances 
an armed attempt to rescue 
him and to free Ireland might 
have proved abortive ; we 
therefore interposed, and with 
difficulty succeeded in pre- 
venting the fruitless effusion 
of blood." The hope of 
an amicable adjustment be- 
tween England and Ireland 
was melting away, and he 
felt bound to tell them that 
the indignities and wrongs 
heaped on them were fast 
bringing them to " that 
period when armed resistance 
to the oppressors of our 
country will become a sacred 
obligation enforced by the 
highest sanctions of public 

Early in June a determined 
effort was made to combine 
the Federation with the party 
of Conciliation Hall, led by 
John O'Connell, the Liberator's 
son, and to begin in a new 
Irish League a new, speedy, 
and definite struggle for in- 
dependence. Moral force and 
physical force were to stand 
henceforth on the same plat- 


The Irish Rebellion of " Forty -Eight ." 


form. This fusion was not 
brought about without some 
difficulty; indeed there never 
was any real fusion at all. 
O'Connell was politely referred 
to by the extreme men as the 
" huckster of expediences " ; 
and when he talked of moral 
force, they replied with " moral 
force with a hook" as the 
only force that would tell. A 
fortnight later, when the 
clubs were spreading like 
wildfire over the land, 
O'Connell urged Young Ire- 
land to shun them and their 
childishly useless organisation : 
"Don't risk imprisonment for 
the sake of learning the goose- 
step and drilling in a loft." 

The rapid spread of the 
clubs was due mainly to one 
man. In the last week of 
June, when the path of re- 
volution was becoming a 
slippery one for O'Brien, he 
received a letter which was 
designedly calculated to ac- 
celerate his pace and bring 
him to the brink of the pre- 
cipice. It was from Charles 
Gavan Daffy, who week by 
week, in the pages of 'The 
Nation/ was pouring thick 
and fast those burning words 
on "The Business of To-day" 
which intoxicated Young Ire- 
land and set it reeling. Duffy, 
like many others, had been 
caught in the French mael- 
strom. When the French 
Revolution raised the hopes 
of Ireland in a speedy de- 
liverance, he asked to have 
done what seemed to him the 
manifest duty of the hour. 
He suggested that the two 
existing Repeal Associations 
should be dissolved and a new 

one set up kindled with the 
new spirit of the time. There 
was to be a legislative Council 
of three hundred, and an Ex- 
ecutive Committee of five to 
act as a Cabinet. Commis- 
sioners were to go forth north, 
south, east, and west to or- 
ganise the country into local 
clubs. Permanent agents were 
to be established in England to 
organise the Irish and the 
friends of Ireland there. "The 
problem that lies before us is 
to seize the whole force of the 
country now scattered and 
chaotic, to reduce it properly 
to order, and discipline it to 
system that it may be wielded 
like a sword against England. 
... I repeat it is but a month's 
work to found a thousand 
clubs ; and in the present 
temper of men's minds they 
will flock into such an organ- 
isation. With co - operation 
the first of July may see Ire- 
land organised and fashioned 
into the order, strength, and 
symmetry of a nation. Give 
Ireland a native power which 
she can love and obey, and 
you give all she requires for 
strength or victory. A popular 
executive set up by the Irish 
nation would overtop the offi- 
cials of Dublin Castle in a 

Following on the heels of 
this clarion call to prepare 
came his letter to O'Brien: 

" MY DEAR SIR, I am glad 
to learn that you are about to 
commence a series of meetings 
in Munster. There is no half- 
way house for you. You will 
be the head of the movement 
loyally obeyed ; and the revolu- 


The Irish Rebellion of " Forty-Eight " 


tion will be conducted with 
order and clemency; or the 
mere anarchists will prevail 
with the people, and our revo- 
lution will be a bloody chaos. 
You have at present Lafay- 
ette's place so graphically 
painted by Lamartine, and I 
believe have fallen into Lafay- 
ette's error, that of not using 
it to all its extent and re- 
sources " (Lafayette was the 
halfway-house marquis of the 
first French Revolution who, 
anxious to save the king's 
life, hesitated between the 
Moderates and the Regicides, 
and in the end gave place to 
Robespierre and the Reign of 
Terror) "If I were Smith 
O'Brien I would strike out 
in my own mind, and with 
such counsel as I valued, a 
definite course for the Revolu- 
tion, and labour incessantly to 
develop it in that way. I 
verily believe the hopes of the 
country depend upon the man- 
ner in which the next two 
months are used. There is not 
a town in which you could not 
find a band of missionaries 
to organise the neighbouring 
counties every club has its 
active men fit for this work 
and it is only by applying 
all our force to it that we 
will succeed. Believe me, my 
dear sir, very truly yours, 
"C. G. DUFFY." 

There is no half-way house 
for you. O'Brien was begin- 
ning to realise how inevitably 
true is this for all who set 
forth on the difficult path of 
revolution. With the advent 
of July the movement took a 
big leap forward. The leaders 

proceeded to take the advice of 
' The Nation,' and plant Ireland 
with clubs from end to end. In 
the very week when the streets 
of Paris ran red with blood, 
the aftermath of February's 
revolution, organisers posted 
to every quarter and to every 
province, putting a cordon of 
clubs round Ireland. But of 
what avail were clubs with- 
out arms? "Arm yourselves, 
arm!" said "Eva" in the 
'Irish Felon'; "think of the 
one thing necessary guns, 
pikes, pitchforks when you 
are armed ask for it ; if re- 
fused, take it." "Fight like 
fury," said < The Nation,' be- 
fore you allow a stook of the 
harvest to be plundered by the 
black strangers. . . . We re- 
commend an extensive out- 
door relief of pikes and mus- 
kets without delay. . . . We 
trust there are a good many 
* coffined ' guns in Tipperary, 
and a respectable assortment 
of pikes where Peelers cannot 
lay their hands on them. And 
certainly in this month of the 
hay harvest there are scythes 
in abundance, a weapon worth 
both together for scattering a 
squadron of cavalry the old 
Lochaber axe." 

On the 5th July O'Brien 
set out from Dublin to make a 
tour in the south-west. He 
visited Cork, Limerick, Bantry, 
Maoroom, Berehaven, Killar- 
ney, and wherever he went he 
was received with the greatest 
enthusiasm. But he was still 
afraid to strike. "I say that 
there is not in Ireland any one 
who entertains so great a 
horror of plunging Ireland into 
premature rebellion. I am 


The Irish Rebellion of "Forty-Eight." 


ready, if necessary, to offer 
myself as a sacrifice, but not 
in an abortive attempt. And 
therefore I say, and I shall 
continue to say it until the 
case shall have arisen that 
shall bring us into the field, 
that I earnestly desire that all 
questions between Great Britain 
and Ireland should be settled 
amicably. I am ready to avow 
that at present, and till the first 
blood be shed, I am for a con- 
tinuance of the ancient consti- 
tution of the Queen, Lords, and 
Commons of Ireland. I avow 
that I am of opinion that the 
Irish people would be fully 
justified in an appeal to arms if 
they were fully prepared." 

At Cork he held what he 
called a review of his troops. 
"I met two thousand men as 
well arrayed, as capable of 
efficient action as any troops in 
Her Majesty's service; and I 
met at least ten thousand able- 
bodied men who promised to 
support and sympathise with 
them. Observe I do not wish 
to speak of the troops in Her 
Majesty's service as opposed to 
the men whom I met in Cork. 
I have had the satisfaction of 
being welcomed by many of 
my countrymen who wear red 
coats also during this excur- 
sion." Just as the weird sisters 
saluted Macbeth " Glamis 
thou art, and shalt be King 
hereafter " an enthusiastic 
old beldame in the crowd, 
pointing her skinny finger and 
reminding him of his ancient 
lineage, hailed him as King of 
Munster. O'Brien promptly 
threw back "Not yet! Not 

Beturning from his trium- 

phant review in Cork, he found 
that Duffy had been arrested. 
England, he felt, was deter- 
mined to pursue her provoca- 
tive way, and he was satisfied 
that the time had come when 
resistance to the Eoglish Gov- 
ernment had become a duty 
and the choice of a moment lor 
the exercise of the right of 
resistance was a question to be 
decided solely by a calculation 
of the chances of success. He 
had felt the pulse of the South- 
west. Similar testing expedi- 
tions were now to be made to 
the Midlands, the North, and 
Conn aught. In response to his 
recent visit a monster meeting 
of clubs assembled on Sunday, 
July 16, on the historic slopes 
of Slievenamon. Doheny, in 
the green and gold uniform of 
the '82 Club, led the famous 
King Cormac Club, a body 
4000 strong, from Cashel, " the 
city of the Kings." 

Government were growing 
uneasy at such displays of 
force, and at last determined to 
strike. On July 18 Dublin 
was proclaimed under the Arms 
Act, and within the next few 
days Cork and Waterford. The 
Council of the League met to 
consider how the Government's 
latest move might be defeated. 
Brennan, Darcy M'Gee, and 
others were for immediate 
action. Dillon proposed an 
amendment advocating passive 
resistance to the proclamation, 
and this was carried by a small 
majority, much to the disgust 
of the extreme section, Brennan 
exclaiming, " You will halt be- 
tween two opinions, you will 
halt till American and French 
aid comes, till rifles are forged 


The Irish Rebellion of " Forty -Eight." 


in heaven and angels draw the 
trigger ! " O'Brien was still 
wavering, still letting " I dare 
not" wait upon "I would," 
like the oat i' the adage. An 
outbreak would be premature. 
The organisation was not com- 
plete. He had not inspected 
Ireland. At a public meeting 
in the Abbey Street Music 
Hall the same evening, he 
dwelt on the success of his 
mission to the South, and 
bravely tried to steer between 
the two conflicting sections 
whom he had left only an hour 
or two before. Strike they 
must, but the hour to strike ? 
There was the stupendous 
question. Before many days 
passed the date was fixed for 
him by a counters troke of which 
he had not dreamed. 

On July 20 the Govern- 
ment were in possession of all 
that had passed at the Council 
meeting and the public meeting 
on the 19th. The Council ad- 
journed for two days to arrange 
for a Council of War, an execu- 
tive of five. They met and 
elected Meagher, Dillon, O'Gor- 
man, M'Gee, and Devin Reilly. 
O'Brien was purposely excluded, 
as being more useful in the 
country. But a more moment- 
ous vote was about to be taken 
elsewhere. The bolt was about 

to fall. On Saturday, July 
22, the Premier learned from 
His Excellency in Ireland that 
the country was as bad as it 
could be short of open rebellion. 
The clubs were illegal, but they 
could not get evidence to put 
them down, so they must ask 
for the suspension of the Habeas 
Corpus Act. The same after- 
noon Lord John Russell went 
down to the House of Com- 
mons and asked for leave to 
suspend the Habeas Corpus in 
Ireland in order to prevent a 
rebellion there. Little time 
was lost. Sir Robert Peel was 
prepared to give the measure 
decisive and cordial support. If 
it were not passed the country 
would during the coming recess 
be deluged in blood. He was 
prepared to protect the Crown 
of England against those mock 
kings of Munster who, when 
royal authority is offered them, 
say "Not yet! not yet!" He 
was not prepared to shout for 
the king of Munster yet, nor to 
exchange the mild supremacy 
of Queen Victoria for King 
O'Brien. The Bill passed 
through all stages in the Com- 
mons on the same day. Two 
days later it received the 
Royal assent. The rebels were 
euchred. It was now do or 


On that same Saturday, the 
22nd of July, when legislators 
were so busy making law and 
were rushing the Suspension 
Bill through the House of 
Commons, O'Brien, all unaware 
of the subtle web which destiny 

was weaving to his undoing, 
took his seat in the mail-coach 
for Ennisoorthy, setting out on 
an excursion during which he 
was fated to make history. He 
spent the night at Mr Maher's 
near Enniscorthy, and next 


The Irish Rebellion of " Forty- Eight." 


morning, Sunday the 23rd, 
Meagher and Dillon, two of his 
ablest lieutenants, who had 
followed him hot foot from 
Dublin, brought to his bedside 
the latest, most unwelcome com- 
munique' from London. O'Brien 
was stunned. Suoh a step 
stood not within the prospect 
of belief for him. A wise states- 
man has said that across the 
page of most revolutions may 
be written the words "Too 
late ! " O'Brien's rebellion had 
the double distinction of being 
too late and too early. The 
sudden action of the Govern- 
ment forced it to go off at half- 
cock. But if the Government 
struck at an awkward moment 
for O'Brien, they did not strike 
a moment too soon in the public 

The lawless state of the 
country in the month of July 
'48 and for the six months 
preceding could hardly be ex- 
aggerated. The awful trail of 
the Famine remained and mani- 
fested itself in murder, rapine, 
plunder, houghing cattle, fir- 
ing into dwelling-houses, and 
gross disorder of every kind. 
Amid the general orgy of law- 
lessness which characterised 
the southern counties, three 
stood out conspicuous Lim- 
erick, Clare, and Tipperary. 
At the Spring Assizes for Co. 
Limerick there were upwards 
of 450 oases of serious crime for 
trial, exclusive of 38 from the 
city. They included 30 White- 
boy offences, over 50 highway 
and other robberies, and 45 
persons were indicted on the 
capital charge, one for two 
counties an appalling array, 
especially having regard te the 

fact that a Special Commission 
had sat in the same county 
only two months earlier, when 
6 criminals were condemned to 
death, 18 transported, and 14 
imprisoned. At a Special 
Commission for Clare in Janu- 
ary, 116 persons were indicted 
for serious crime, including 11 
murders, for which 10 men suf- 
fered death. In Tipperary in 
the same month there were 375 
criminals for trial, 20 for mur- 
der. It was the practice then, 
as afterwards, to have murders 
committed by persons hired 
and brought from a distance, 
and in Co. Limerick the price 
of murder ranged from 5 to 
3, 10s., to be levied off the 
farmers of the district ! After 
the Spring Assizes 250 con- 
victs went out, on transporta- 
tion, in the Bangalore. At the 
Summer Assizes for Limerick 
there were 68 felons for trial, 
23 of them for murder, and 
this was considered a great 
improvement ! 

Suoh was the state of things 
in some of those counties en 
which O'Brien relied most for 
support. When he received 
Meagher's unpleasant tidings 
at Enniscorthy on that Sun- 
day morning he had three 
courses open to him to flee, 
surrender, or fight. He chose 
the last, he tells us himself, 
as alone consonant with his 
dignity, his previous profes- 
sions, and the interests of Ire- 
land as he understood them. 
He had so strongly urged the 
necessity to prepare for con- 
flict that " we should have 
been exposed to ridicule and 
reproach if we had fled at the 
moment when all the oontin- 


The Irish Rebellion of " Forty -Eight " 


genoies which we had contem- 
plated as justifying the use of 
force were realised." In this 
view he was possibly strength- 
ened by Dillon, whose better 
judgment told him that the 
time was not ripe for a re- 
course to arms, but who, when 
the sudden crisis came, could 
neither leave his leader in the 
lurch nor, with him, commit 
himself to an ignominious 
position. This " new act of 
aggression on our liberties" 
(the suspension of Habeas 
Corpus) had afforded a casus 
belli which, in his opinion, no 
patriotic Irishman could ques- 
tion. Despair of success was 
the only consideration which 
might have restrained him, and 
so far from despairing at the 
moment, he was full of hope. 
"No human sagacity could 
have foreseen that our effort 
would have been of a charac- 
ter so feeble or its results so 

He considered it no pre- 
sumptuous expectation that at 
the first call to arms 100,000 
men would appear in the field. 
At the time of the French 
Revolution in February, at the 
time of Mitchel's conviction in 
May, the food problem had 
been a serious element in the 
case. That problem was no 
longer pressing. The potato 
crop was abundant, and the 
approaching harvest guaran- 
teed sustenance for a twelve- 
month to the people of Ireland, 
whose numbers had been so 
drastically reduced by the 
Famine. All classes and all 
creeds were discontented. He 
did not think that thirty or 
forty thousand soldiers could 

retain in servitude a nation of 
seven millions, even if every 
soldier and every policeman 
were faithful to his paymaster 
rather than to his country. 
But remembering that all the 
police and more than one-third 
of the soldiery were Irishmen, 
he was convinced that, given 
a certain amount of success 
sufficient to guarantee protec- 
tion and support to those who 
joined, a large proportion of 
police and soldiers would have 
gone over. The fact remains 
that in a very difficult position 
the police to a man stood loyal. 
Nor was this O'Brien's enly 

The sudden coup of the Gov- 
ernment forced him to take 
the field at a moment's notice 
without any organised plan of 
campaign, and with a very 
imperfect knowledge of the 
personnel or extent of his 
forces, or of the means of 
maintaining them. He had 
not inspected Ireland. From 
Ennisoorthy to Graigue, to 
Kilkenny, to Callan, to Car- 
rick, to Mullinahone, to Cashel, 
to Killenaule wherever he 
went he met with plenty of 
lip homage and tossing of caps 
and waving of boughs and 
banners bouquets were show- 
ered on him; "it was roses, 
roses, all the way" but he 
found little real support or 
fighting power. He had to 
learn that revolutions are not 
carried by fine words and 
vehement protestations. His 
nondescript army waxed and 
waned from hour to hour as 
he passed through the country. 
Before he had been twenty- 
four hours in any particular 


The Irish Rebellion of " Forty-Eight." 


place the throng of ardent 
admirers who had flocked to 
meet him began to dissolve 
under two strong influ- 
ences which he had entirely 
miscalculated. The opposition 
of the clergy was as unex- 
pected as it was thorough. 
Equally disappointing was the 
imperturbability of the Con- 

Smith O'Brien's seven days' 
rebellion was also the seven 
days' temptation of the Con- 
stabulary. Very persistently 
he tried to seduce the police 
from their allegiance by the 
promise of good things to come. 
He began at Ennisoorthy on 
July 23rd. He was happy to 
see so many police present. 
They were a fine body of men, 
and all Irishmen ; they should 
be treated as friends till they 
proved themselves otherwise. 
He assured them he had been 
received in many parts of Ire- 
land in a very friendly manner 
by the soldiery and the Con- 
stabulary. At Callan next day 
he was glad to see the police. 
They had sound Irish hearts, 
and they would be better under 
an Irish Government than 
under Englishmen and Scotch- 
men. At Mullinahone, on the 
25th, he assured the police he 
had a great respect for them, 
and he wished the people to 
treat them with every degree 
of respect and civility, to meet 
them as brothers, to meet them 
openly, and by no means to 
take an advantage of them. 
His remarks there were ad- 
dressed to an excited and 
enthusiastic crowd of between 
3000 and 4000 (Kickhjam says 
6000), many of them armed. 

After spending most of the 
night in rudimentary drilling, 
O'Brien went next morning, 
the 26th of July, to the local 
police barrack to induce the 
police to surrender. One of 
his companions on this visit 
was a man who was after- 
wards to play a prominent 
part in Irish revolutionary 
propaganda James Stephens, 
the future Head Centre of the 
Irish Republican Brotherhood. 
O'Brien told the Head Con- 
stable, David Williams, that 
he wanted the police arms. 
Williams replied they would 
only part with their arms with 
their lives. O'Brien asked, Had 
they seen the display last 
night ? It would be better for 
them to surrender their arms 
and go with him to Callan, 
where he would put them 
under pay. Williams retorted 
that he would be unworthy 
of the name of Irishman if he 
gave up his arms. O'Brien 
then gave him an hour to con- 
sider. Within that time he 
would have five hundred men 
there and resistance would 
be useless. Within the hour 
Williams, in accordance with 
orders issued to the police to 
concentrate at headquarters, 
marched his men out to Cashel, 
without let or hindrance, and 
was accompanied as far as 
Killenaule by an escort fur- 
nished by the local clergy ! 
O'Brien, in his record of what 
happened at Mullinahone, de- 
clares that "the police there 
professed entire sympathy with 
our prooeedings,"and Kickham, 
in his account furnished to 
Gavan Duffy, says, "There was 
some excitement and anxiety 


The Irish Rebellion of ' Forty-Eight." 


as to what was going to hap- 
pen, when O'Brien walked into 
the police barrack, the door of 
which was open, as if nothing 
unusual was going on. There 
was a laugh, however, among 
the crowd, when a big police- 
man put his head out of an 
upper window, exclaiming, 
" Yerrah ! sure the time isn't 
come yet to surrender our 
arms. D'ye wait till the right 
time comes ! " Both these ver- 
sions go to show that the 
police at Mullinahone had 
some skill in diplomacy, and 
were playing a weak hand with 
considerable finesse. The laugh 
was on the other side within a 
week, when O'Brien's army 
had melted away like snow off 
the Galtees, and H.C. Williams 
and his party received a hand- 
some pecuniary reward for re- 
maining staunch to duty. 

O'Brien's plan of campaign, 
so far as he had any, was to 
seize Kilkenny, and to this he 
was probably prompted by 
Dillon. Kilkenny had advan- 
tages of situation and advan- 
tages of tradition. It was the 
City of the Confederation. It 
was the centre of a circle which 
embraced some of the best 
fighting material in Ireland, 
and in which memories of the 
Tithe War still survived. It 
was sufficiently far removed 
from the military resources of 
the Government to protect it 
from sudden attack. "If a 
simultaneous movement should 
take place in other parts of the 
Kingdom we should be in a 
position either to co-operate 
with the men of Meath, Kil- 
dare, and Wicklow, in an ad- 
vance on Dublin, or to sustain 


every effort which might be 
made in Waterford, Cork, 
or Limerick." At Kilkenny 
O'Brien met with his first 
disappointment. He expected 
that the rising, when the signal 
was given, would be simul- 
taneous and almost universal. 
Arriving in Kilkenny from 
Ennisoorthy on the night of 
the 23rd, he found that the 
Clubs there would not consider 
it safe to rise alone. If they 
had co-operation they nnyht } 
but the garrison had been 
strengthened, &o., &o. They 
were fertile in excuses. What 
was to be done ? Call on the 
men of " Magnificent Tipper- 
ary" to lend their aid. "It 
is useless to speculate," says 
O'Brien, "what would have 
been the result if a thousand 
resolute men, well armed, had 
marched from the towns of 
Waterford and Carrick upon 
Kilkenny, and had been accom- 
panied by all the active and 
ardent young men from the 
intervening district, who would 
naturally have been induced to 
unite with them in such an 
undertaking." At Callan they 
were well received bands 
played, bonfires blazed, green 
boughs waved. At Cashel of 
the Kings, which had sent such 
a muster to Slievenamon on 
the preceding Sunday, and 
which was supposed to be well 
organised by Doheny, there 
was little enthusiasm. " Cashel 
was like a city of the dead." 
But Carrick was afire. "A 
torrent of human beings, rush- 
ing through lanes and narrow 
streets, whirling in dizzy circles, 
and tossing up its dark waves 
with sounds of wrath, ven- 


The Irish Rebellion of "Forty-Eight" 


geanoe, and defiance . . . eyes 
red with rage and desperation 
. . . wild, half-stifled, frantic, 
passionate prayers of hope; 
ourses on the red flag ; scornful, 
exalting defiance of death. It 
was the revolution, if we had 
accepted it." Surely here was 
the place for the red glare 
to burst. But O'Brien voted 
against it, and adhered to his 
original intention to seize Kil- 
kenny. He asked for 600 
volunteers to accompany him 
to Callan, but they were not 

Kilkenny, Cashel, Carrick 
three large towns had failed 
him. He would now fall back 
on the country districts. On 
Tuesday the 25th he visited 
Killenaule. There was plenty of 
enthusiasm, plenty of bouquets, 
plenty of addresses, but of any 
efficient addition to his strength, 
or any improvement in organ- 
isation, there was none. Mull- 
inahone was the next objective, 
and here for the first time it 
seemed that the people meant 
business. Dense crowds jostled 
at the blacksmith's forge in 
their eager haste to procure 
pike heads. The smith himself 
was " killed " trying to hammer 
out the stuff. " Before midnight 
the material for a splendid 
brigade had answered the sum- 
mons. It was computed that 
upwards of 6000 men, armed 
with fowling-pieces, impromptu 
spikes and pitchforks, were 
drawn up and kept at rudi- 
mentary drill that night along 
the streets and roads leading to 
the town of Mullinahone." 

But the enthusiasm was 
short-lived. There were two 
imperious reasons for the 

damping of the insurgents' 
ardour, the Commissariat and 
the Clergy. If it is true that 
an army fights on its stomach, 
O'Brien's motley gathering 
would not go far. He had 
declared that he would lay 
hands on no man's property 
ruthlessly. His raw recruits 
were clamouring for fight, but 
clamouring more loudly for 
breakfast. O'Brien in his 
quixotic way went into a 
baker's shop and bought them 
a few loaves, but what were 
they among so many ? Gavan 
Duffy was right in saying that 
he starved the insurrection. 
But the other obstacle was 
even more serious. If O'Brien 
starved the body, there were 
others who could starve the 
soul. Let him describe their 
action in his own words. "I 
took up a position at Mullin- 
ahone, and if it had not been 
for the interference of the 
Roman Catholic clergymen of 
the parish, I should have found 
myself in command of a large 
armed force, which might in 
a few days have been rendered 
available for such a movement 
as I contemplated or for any 
of the operations of guerilla 
warfare. These men, if left to 
themselves, would have cheer- 
fully encountered privation or 
danger. But they were com- 
pletely paralysed by the oper- 
ation of spiritual influences. 
The same men, who had shown 
the utmost ardour in the even- 
ing, were on the following 
morning, after listening to 
the exhortations of the priest, 
if not indisposed, at least 
utterly unfit for action. . . . 
We were defeated, not by 

1918.] The Irish Rebellion of Forty-Eight." 195 

the military preparations of O'Briwn's arrival in Mullina- 

Lord Hardinge or of General hone with some rude pikes 

MaoDonald, not by the sys- and arms. He was not able 

tern of espionage organised to patrol during the night 

by Lord Clarendon, but by among the multitude, "prin- 

the influences brought into oipally of strangers," but next 

action by the Catholic clergy ! morning when he appeared 

Whatever merit is connected and remonstrated with his 

with the suppression of our flock they immediately aban- 

effort is due chiefly, if not doned O'Brien, and he was 

solely, to the Catholic Hier- forced to retreat to Bal- 

arohy." The Rev. John Cor- lingarry. " He intended to 

ooran, P.P. of Mullinahone, make Mullinahone his head- 

his curate Father Cahill, and quarters and this neigbbour- 

the Rev. John Moloney, P.P. hood his battle-ground, but 

of Thurles, shared the honours. I would not allow any one 

Father Corcoran was fully under my spiritual jurisdiction 

alive to the importance of to fraternise with his treason- 

the part he played, and to able and wicked designs." 

the powerful influence of the Father Dan was as keen and 

"unpaid National Guard." as successful as any policeman 

in preserving the public peace, 

"OAKFIELD, MULLINAHONE, and he received the best 

August 6, '48. thanks of the Government for 

"The Rev. Daniel Corcoran, his loyal and zealous endeav- 
P.P. of Mullinahone, takes the ours to support the Queen's 
liberty of addressing His Ex. authority on that occasion, 
the Earl of Clarendon on It is easy enough to under- 
behalf of his people, whose stand the hostility of the 
loyal, peaceable, and dutiful clergy to the movement. They 
conduct has been already had followed closely the trend 
noticed by the Press of the of events in France. A month 
Empire for their determined had not passed since the Corn- 
opposition to the rash and munists had risen in arms 
insane movements of Smith against the Republic and for 
O'Brien and his followers in a week bathed Paris in blood, 
this district. The venerable Archbishop of 

"I can safely say to your Paris, intervening as peace- 
Excellency that among my maker, was shot dead at a 
flock there are no persons barricade. Who could foretell 
disaffected to the present what would happen in Ireland 
Government, that the laws if the Jacquerie got the upper 
are respected and obeyed." hand? Their imitation of the 

French model had been close 

In candour Father Dan enough so far as it had 

admits that "certain very gone. 

young and foolish persons " While O'Brien was zigzag- 

(the 6000 of Kickham !) did ging through the plains of 

appear on the night of Tipperary, what was happen- 


The Irish Rebellion of " Forty -Eight" 


ing on the other side? The 
Clubs had been proclaimed ; 
the Duke of Wellington and 
Lord Hardinge had placed 
their services at the disposal 
of the Government, and were 
prepared to proceed to Ire- 
laud to aid His Excellency; 
an additional military district 
was created, with Waterford 
as headquarters. All over the 
South the feeling prevailed 
that the "rising" was on. 
Clonmel was in a state of 
siege. People remained up all 
night expecting an irruption 
of the Clubs to attack the 
military barrack. The cavalry 
riding-school was thrown open 
for those who sought protection. 
Special constables were sworn 
in. All arms and ammunition 
in possession of vendors were 
taken over by the police. 
In Waterford soldiers were 
marching and counter-march- 
ing, bugles sounding, alarming 
despatches arriving ; " every 
hour some horseman came 
with tidings of dismay " ; 
twenty -five families sailed for 
Bristol in one day. In Carrick 
and other towns in the neigh- 
bourhood people were leaving 
by every available means. 
Carriok was "terribly excited. 
The people talk only of war." 
In Waterford pikes were sell- 
ing at 2d. to 9d. apiece. 

Much of the excitement was 
talk only. The proclamations 
acted like magic. Any one ar- 
rested on suspicion of treason- 
able practices was liable to be 
detained in custody till March 
'49 without bail or mainprize. 
On such exacting conditions 
Clubs were no longer trump. 
The majority of the members 

notified their resignations vol- 
untarily to the stipendiary 
magistrates. Others, many of 
them of the shopboy class, 
fled in alarm to other towns, 
where they speedily took the 
Queen's shilling and swore to 
fight against all rebels. 

The police at outlying rural 
stations were called in and con- 
centrated in the towns. One 
wonders whether there was no 
alternative to such a step. The 
disadvantages of it were ob- 
vious. It left the rebels a very 
free hand to move up and down 
the country as they wished and 
mature their plans without any 
fear of interference, while at 
the same time it placed the 
well-disposed people, who had 
no sympathy with the move- 
ment, in a difficult position. 
Among other untoward results 
it produced an epidemic of 
plunder and pillage, and in 
little more than a week the 
order was rescinded and the 
rural police were sent back to 
their stations. 

After a day of weird military 
evolutions at Ballingarry, pre- 
sided over by " Ijieutenant- 
Colonel" Jack Cormaok (an 
old soldier) and " Commander " 
Cunningham, and a day of bar- 
ricades at Killenaule, where his 
forces came into a brief colli- 
sion with a troop of Hussars, 
O'Brien found himself on Friday 
night, the 28th July,, at the 
Commons in County Tipperary, 
presiding over a divided and 
distracted council of his chiefs. 
The majority of them, and the 
best of them, were for post- 
poning the fight, seeing how 
seriously O'Brien had miscal- 
culated the temper of the 


The Irish Rebellion of "Forty-Eight." 


people. They suggested wait- 
ing till the harvest to "light 
the wisp on the hills," and 
going into concealment in the 
meantime. O'Brien would have 
none of it. Eventually only 
two of them stuck to him 
Terence Bellew M'Manus and 
James Stephens. Dillon was 
for going to Limerick, where 
his chief had many partisans, 
but the latter declined. "I 
won't hide," he said ; " I won't 
be a fugitive where my fore- 
fathers reigned. I won't go to 
Limerick ; I will continue to 
appeal to the people as I have 
been doing, till we gather 
enough support to enable us to 
take the field." For O'Brien 
there was no going back now. 
Bear-like, he must fight the 
course. The eve of his Waterloo 
had come. 

Meanwhile Kilkenny, the 
city of the Confederation, the 
city from which O'Brien had 
hoped that the genesis of a 
New Ireland would spring, 
had abandoned itself to gaiety. 
Its condition during that mem- 
orable week forcibly illustrates 
how sunshine and storm, grave 
and gay, are always inextric- 
ably intermingled in Ireland. 
The country's responsible ruler 
had described its condition to 
be "as bad as can be short of 
open rebellion." The stranger 
in Kilkenny would have found 
it difficult to recognise the 
picture. The cattle show, a 
three-day affair, and at that 
time the biggest social func- 
tion of the year, concluded 
on Friday night, the 28 bh, 
with a grand ball. The beauty 
and chivalry of three counties 
were there. There were plenty 

of red -coats and green, for 
the state of the country had 
brought large additions to the 

irrison and the Constabulary, 
ittle they recked of Smith 
O'Brien or rebellion, or the 
red god of war. For the 
moment Venus was in the 
ascendant. It was a brilliant 
scene, full of colour. "Bright 
the lamps shone o'er fair 
women and brave men." 
When the merriment was at 
its height the arrival of an 
uninvited guest, in the person 
of Head - Constable Crowley, 
threw the assembly into most 
admired disorder, and soon 
caused a few gaps among the 
dancers. He was the bearer 
of an urgent despatch from 
Dublin Castle for County- In- 
spector Blake, announcing that 
Smith O'Brien was in open 
rebellion on the borders of his 
county, and offering a reward 
of 500 for his arrest. 'Then 
it was " Arm ! arm ! and out ! " 
In half an hour the ballroom 
was deserted. Blake set out 
at once for Killenaule, which 
he reached in the small hours 
of Saturday morning. Hav- 
ing ascertained O'Brien's exact 
whereabouts, he despatched 
trusty messengers, directing 
three detachments of police 
to converge simultaneously on 
Boulagh Commons at 3 P.M. 
the same afternoon Sub-In- 
spector Trant and his party 
from Callan, Sub - Inspector 
Cox and party from Cashel, 
and Sub- Inspector Monahan 
and party from Fethard. The 
County-Inspector himself went 
direct to Thurles, where he 
hoped to get the aid of the 
military, who were quartered 


The Irish Rebellion of " Forty-Eight." 


there in considerable force 
under General MaoDonald. 
But neither the General nor 
the County - Inspector was 
destined to reach the field 
of battle. 

Sub-Inspector Trant was an 
excellent fellow, full of pluck 
and full of fight, but in his 
not unnatural thirst for "one 
glorious hour of crowded life " 
he appears to have shown 
undue haste and an insufficient 
regard for orders. He was 
due at the Commons at 3 P.M. 
From Callan it is little more 
than ten miles distant, and 
Trant, setting out at 9.30 A.M., 
found himself at Ballingarry 
before 1 P.M., and approaching 
the Commons some two hours 
before the time fixed. Smith 
O'Brien was sitting at a table 
in the widow Laoken's kitchen, 
inditing for publication a letter 
which contained a preliminary 
exposition of the principles 
upon which the war was to 
be conducted, when John 
Kavanagh, president of one 
of the Dublin Clubs, who 
had made his way from 
Dublin to join his leader, 
rode down the hill at a gallop 
with the news that a large 
body of police was passing 
through Ballingarry on its 
way to the Commons. Instant 
preparations were made for 
a defence. A barricade was 
thrown across the street at 
the entrance to the village. 
The rebel programme arranged 
for Saturday was to march out 
and meet reinforcements from 
Urlingford at a chapel mid- 
way between the two villages, 
then wheel to the left and 
attack the police barrack at 

New Birmingham, but Sub- 
Inspector Trant's unexpected 
arrival precipitated a collision. 
Trant's party numbered forty- 
six. As regards the insurgent 
forces, there is considerable 
discrepancy of evidence. The 
police testimony is that they 
numbered about three thousand. 
The bulk of them consisted 
probably of curious and non- 
combatant spectators. The 
actual armed fighting force on 
the rebel side was not large, 
as is fairly clear from the 
wretched stand they made. 
M'Manus says, " We threw up 
a hasty but effectual barricade 
of carts, timber, &o. In a 
hollow on the left we placed 
our pike and pitchfork men, so 
as to be able to charge outside 
or retreat inside. Stephens, 
with some of the gunsmen, 
occupied the houses command- 
ing the barricade; O'Brien, 
with a few gunsmen, kept the 
front of the barricade ; I, with 
about eighty men and women, 
occupied a large hollow on the 
left, about two hundred and 
fifty yards in advance of the 
barricade. We were to lie close 
on our faces until the police 
had passed and received the 
first fire. "We were then to 
rush down on their rear and 
give them a volley of stones 
and close with them. Simul- 
taneously with this, the pike- 
men were to charge, and 
Stephens was to reload as 
many muskets as there was 
powder for, and stand in 
reserve. In this order we 
awaited them for about twenty 
minutes, our force being twenty- 
two guns and pistols, and 
about as many pikes and pitch- 


The Irish Rebellion of " Forty-Eight." 


forks, and seventy or eighty 
men and women armed with 
stones." Non tali auxilio, nee 
defensoribus istisl With suoh 
material not Hannibal nor 
Hindenburg oould hope to 
found a new heaven and a 
new earth in Ireland. 

Trant, with his forty -six 
merry men, knowing nothing 
of the reception awaiting them 
at the barricade, pushed on 
through Ballingarry, whistling 
jigs as they went. Soon after 
passing the village they were 
in a very precarious position. 
Crowds began to press them 
in the rear, to hang on their 
flanks in the fields on either 
side of the road, to pour down 
from the hills, while some 
distance in front Trant saw 
another large crowd, some of 
them armed and the barri- 
cade ! Finding himself hemmed 
in on all sides, he wheeled sud- 
denly to the right towards 
Kilkenny, hoping to meet rein- 
forcements ; but of course there 
were none to be seen, and he 
then realised that it was as big 
a blunder to be too early as to 
be too late. Seeing a slated 
house a few fields off he ordered 
his men, who were marching in 
fours, to break and take pos- 
session of it. By this un- 
expected move the widow 
M'Cormaok and her cabbage- 
garden won a page in history. 
On seeing the polioe retreat, 
the whole of O'Brien's force at 
the barricade broke away with 
wild yells in an eager and 
irregular pursuit without wait- 
ing for orders, and arrived at 
M'Cormaok's house at Farrin- 
rory a few minutes after the 
polioe. The latter at once pro- 

ceeded to barricade and secure 
the place against possible at- 
tacks, throwing up mattresses 
and all loose material against 
the windows, and making fast 
the doors. 

Before many minutes passed 
Trant was summoned down- 
stairs. A messenger from 
O'Brien, approaching the win- 
dow under cover of the wall, 
said: "For God's sake, let 
there be no firing; we want 
peace." Trant assured him 
that if the people did not 
fire neither would the polioe; 
but if a shot was fired from 
without, the police would fire 
as long as a cartridge or a 
man remained. O'Brien, find- 
ing that his messenger did 
not return, soon appeared on 
the scene himself. While his 
lieutenant, M'Manus, was fir- 
ing his rifle into the hay at 
the rear with the object of 
"smoking them out," O'Brien 
made his way through a 
wicket -gate at the side, and, 
standing up on the window- 
sill, renewed his policy of 
fraternising with the polioe. 
He put his hand through the 
top of the window to shake 
hands with those inside, and 
it was shaken in a friendly 
way. Had they only known 
that at the time that hand- 
shake was worth 500, they 
might have been disposed to 
prolong it ! "I am Smith 
O'Brien," said the leader "as 
good an Irishman as any of 
you." "We don't want your 
lives; we want your arms." 
The men assured him they 
oould only surrender their 
arms with their lives, and 
referred him to their officer. 


The Irish Rebellion of " Forty -Eight " 


O'Brien crossed the doorway 
to the other window, expect- 
ing to see Trant there; but 
just as he crossed some of his 
own party began to attack 
the window with stones. Some 
one (not O'Brien) shouted 
out, "Slash away, boys, and 
slaughter the whole of them ! " 
This was the signal for gen- 
eral firing on both sides, 
it is not clear which side fired 
the first shot, but O'Brien 
thought it was one of his 
own party, and all parley 
was at an end. 

O'Brien now found himself 
in a position of considerable 
danger. Not only was he ex- 
posed to the police rifles, but 
he ran equal, or greater, risk 
from the blind firing of his own 
party. The police were firing 
from both lower and upper 
windows. He had no alterna- 
tive but to make a dash for 
the front gate, where he 
would reach the friendly shel- 
ter of the surrounding wall. 
That he succeeded in doing 
so without receiving an in- 
glorious wound a tergo is 
amazing, and suggests that 
the shooting of the Con- 
stabulary in 1848 left some- 
thing to be desired. If further 
evidence is required, it may 
be found in the fact that, 
although brisk firing was kept 
up for over an hour 230 
rounds of ammunition were 
served out to the police sub- 
sequently to replace what had 
been spent only two persons 
lost their lives at the battle 
of Farrinrory. Possibly a 
dozen, including Stephens, were 
wounded. Among the police 
there were no casualties. 

O'Brien, irritated at the turn 
affairs had taken, and disap- 
pointed at his failure to win 
over the police, was now dis- 
posed to adopt M'Manus's 
tactics and "smoke them out," 
but on looking round he saw 
that the police fire had at any 
rate had the effect of reducing 
the crowd around the house 
to small proportions. The bulk 
of the rebels had retreated to 
the road. At this juncture 
there enters on the scene one of 
the most interesting figures in 
the drama, a police orderly, 
John Carroll. One would like 
to know Carroll's subsequent 
history in the Force. On that 
memorable day he certainly 
played a difficult game with 
admirable coolness. O'Brien, 
seeing a large crowd surround- 
ing one or two central figures 
on the road, went down there 
and found that Father Fitz- 
gerald, the parish priest of 
Ballingarry, and his curate, 
Father Maher, were eagerly 
dissuading the people from 
their mad project. O'Brien 
vehemently insisted that they 
should allow the people to act 
in defence of their country and 
avenge the loss of their com- 
rades, but the priests would 
not sanction any renewal of 
the attack. While so remon- 
strating, he was informed that 
a police spy had been captured. 
Carroll was brought before 
him and promptly dismounted. 
The rebel leader as promptly 
mounted his horse, and after 
moving up and down among 
the people for some time and 
still meeting with clerical op- 
position, he finally rode away 
towards Urlingford, finding 


The Irish Rebellion of "Forty -Eight." 


that for the moment it was 
less exciting to lead his regi- 
ment from behind, like' the 
Duke of Plaza - Toro. The 
moment had arrived to test 
Carroll's adroitness. " Having 
dismounted, Carroll cried out 
that he never was so happy in 
his life, and that there was no 
man present who wished sue*- 
cess to the cause more than he 
did." And yet he had so in- 
gratiated himself a moment 
before with the clergy, who 
were dead against the move- 
ment, that they promised and 
procured for him a safe escort 
to the widow M'Cormack's 
house to deliver his despatches, 
which he had brought from 
Mr Greene, the Besident Magis- 
trate at Kilkenny, to the Sub- 
Inspector. Let him tell his 
own modest tale as he set it 
down, plain and unvarnished, 
on the day after the battle, for 
the information of his authori- 
ties : " When about half a mile 
outside Ballingarry I met two 
gentlemen whom I took to be 
priests. I begged of them to 
accompany me to the house 
where the men were, for that I 
had commands for the officer 
in charge of the party. The 
priests immediately consented, 
and we galloped off at a hard 
rate. On coming within range 
of the house where the police 
were attacked the firing hav- 
ing been (sic) gone on rapidly 
the priests faltered a little 
in shade of a ditch, upon which 
I followed, and taking off my 
hat " (he was in plain clothes) 
" I beckoned for the people to 
fall back and draw away 
from the house; they accord- 
ingly did so, as they were 

under the impression I was 
a clergyman, being a few 
minutes previous in company 
with the two priests belonging 
to that parish. The crowds 
made towards the clergymen, 
and on my finding an oppor- 
tunity I pushed forward to the 
house, and the men in the 
house being of opinion that I 
was leading on the rebels, kept 
firing upon me; but on their 
recognising me within about 
100 yards of the house they 
cheered loudly, they being of 
the opinion that I had a rein- 
forcement. I handed in my 
commands through the window 
to Mr Trant, who told me to 
go fast to Kilkenny for sup- 
port. I returned, and although 
I was sure I had a very poor 
chance of my life in getting off 
from the crowds still being 
aware that my comrades were 
in a perilous position, and that 
nothing short of great help 
would save their lives" he 
knew nothing of the reinforce- 
ments that were momentarily 
expected " I came to the con- 
clusion of risking my life, or 
make for Kilkenny, and had 
not gone far when I met the 
parish priest, and well know- 
ing that the only chance I had 
was to put myself under his 
protection; but I was imme- 
diately recognised by some one 
in the crowd, who told Mr 
Smith O'Brien that I was a 
policeman, upon which Mr 
O'Brien asked, Wasn't I a 
mounted policeman? I said 
1 Yes,' when a man behind 
said it was my candour saved 
me ; upon which a young 
man of respectable appearance 
stepped out of the crowd" this 


The Irish Rebellion of "Forty-Eight.' 


was M'Manus " and told me 
I should consider myself his 
prisoner, and very kindly said 
I need not fear of being in- 
jured or offered the slightest 
insult whilst under his pro- 
tection. I then dismounted, 
upon which Mr Smith O'Brien 
mounted my horse. The other 
young man by whom I was 
arrested took my arm and 
linked me down the field, ask- 
ing me how the troops in 
Kilkenny were situated and 
what their strength was. I 
was then detained for about 
three hours under the protec- 
tion of four men armed with 
pikes and guns. The priest 
then gave directions that I 
should be sent to my com- 
rades or to some other place 
where I would be safe from 
injury. The people on hear- 
ing this murmured, and said if 
I were let go I would hang 
every one of them. Still the 
men under whose protection I 
was placed said they would 
do what the priest directed 
and protect me with their 
lives. The men giving me a 
choice of the direction I would 
take, I shoved on towards Kil- 
kenny, and after conducting 
me about half a mile beyond 
their camp they left me." 

Well done, Carroll! This 
was a full, and a useful, day's 
work even for a policeman ; 
but his finest flight was yet to 
come. He was hurrying to a 
farmer's house to borrow a 
horse for his return journey 
to Kilkenny, when at a sudden 
turn in the road he came up 
against his own faithful steed, 
the rebel leader still astride 

him. O'Brien, who had a 
varied taste in head-gear, had 
discarded his '82 club cap with 
the green and gold for a peas- 
ant's hat. He had lost his 
way to Urlingford by taking 
a wrong turn, and was doub- 
ling back on the Commons. 
Seeing Carroll, he assumed he 
was about to be arrested, and 
covered the constable with his 
pistol, saying that his life 
or Carroll's depended on the 
event. Carroll, who was equal 
to the occasion, declared he 
had no sinister design and 
carried no arms. O'Brien said 
it was beneath him to shoot an 
unprotected man. A friendly 
conversation ensued, in the 
course of which Carroll used 
some plain language, pointing 
out to O'Brien the futility of 
his action, and reminding him 
that the clergy were teetotally 
against him, and that he could 
not hope to succeed. How 
could he expect to meet troops ? 
O'Brien said that for twenty 
years he had worked for his 
country, and his country could 
redeem itself if it liked. Carroll 
rejoined that his country could 
not be redeemed except by 
blood, and he said he wanted 
no blood. Assuring him that 
his sentiments were those of 
an honest man, which he would 
reward by giving him back 
his horse, O'Brien exceeded the 
civility of the good Samaritan, 
set the constable on his own 
beast, gave him his stick in 
token of friendship, and ob- 
serving that the lives of both 
of them were in nearly equal 
peril, wished him a safe jour- 
ney to Kilkenny ! to Kilkenny, 


The Irish Rebellion of "Forty-Eight" 


the enemy's headquarters ! Was 
ever battle in suoh fashion 
waged? It was magnificent, 
but was it war? 

In suoh incidents as this we 
see O'Brien's character crop- 
ping out. His was an interest- 
ing personality, compact of 
contradictions. His head was 
in the air in more senses than 
one. Dominating and maste?- 
ful, he yet had a wonderful and 
a kindly way with the people. 
Disinterestedness and a strong 
sense of justice were his out- 
standing qualities. Suoh qual- 
ities were not too common in 
the Ireland of his day, and it is 
easy to see how he became the 
idol of a warm-hearted and im- 
pulsive people. Whatever his 
faults, he was not lacking in 
personal courage. On the day 
of Farrinrory he exposed him- 
self many times to danger, even 
foolishly; and when S.-I. Cox 
and his gallant band, arriving 
on the scene about four o'clock 
in the afternoon, put an end to 
the miserable fiasco, it is mira- 
culous that O'Brien did not 
fall into their hands, for after 
parting with Carroll and his 
horse he kept hovering about 
the scene as a moth flitters 
round a candle. 

When Cox arrived from 
Cashel there was little fight 
left in the rebels. On the hill 
under the widow M'Cormaok's 
house he found a crowd of 
about two hundred in three 
parties some of them armed 
with guns, pikes, and pitch- 
forks, in a haggard at foot 
of the hill about sixty more. 
These retired sullenly before 
the advance of the Constabu- 

lary. Half-way up the hill 
they determined to make a 
stand, raised a shout, and 
rushed forward with their 
pikes. Cox said if they came 
any nearer he would fire. One 
of his men cried out that he 
had been fired at. Cox gave the 
order to fire, a volley rang 
out; the others returned the 
fire feebly. "I saw one man 
fall, and there was a pause, 
then a cheer, and a few more 
shots fired and they did not 
come on any more. Some ran 
away, some lay down, and some 
looked out for their safety as 
well as they could." Sic transit 
gloria. Thus was Farrinrory 
lost and won. O'Brien's " con- 
temptible escapade " (the words 
are his own) was at an end ; 
the Peelers had prevailed. 

Alongside John Carroll's re- 
port must be placed another 
modest tale, a very human 
document. It was written by 
Sub-Inspector Trant, fresh from 
the cabbage garden of victory 
with all his blushing honours 
thick upon him : if some of the 
phrases are pitched in a rather 
lofty key, every allowance must 
be made for the occasion. It 
was an informal note to Mr 
Greene the Besident Magis- 
trate, scribbled off before he 
had supped. His more con- 
sidered despatch to his own 
authorities seems to have been 
a masterpiece in its way. It 
began in poetic vein 

" Who spills the foremost foeman's life, 
His party conquers in the strife," 

and as Whiteside, who de- 
fended O'Brien so brilliantly 
on his trial, said, " if printed it 


The Irish Rebellion of " Forty- Eight " 


might take its place with 
Gurney's Despatches of the 
Duke of Wellington!" 


" 8 P.M., 07i return home. 

" None dead on our part. 
No military need oome to our 
aid. We certainly did not 
leave less than a dozen killed 
and wounded. We gave the 
priest leave to take away the 
dead and dying, although his 
Reverence did not oome near 
us till we had made all re- 
treat. Two shots were fired 
at the coward Smith O'Brien. 
'Tis thought he must have 
been hit. The wretch when 
fired at fell on his knees, 
crawled away under a low 
wall, and got away through 
ditches. Eager eyes could not 
see him. We were myself, 
Head Constable McDonough, 
and forty - five men. They 
were thousands from Ballin- 
garry, Commons, and Coal- 

"I had secured a house on 
top of a hill just as they were 
all round us, and fired two 
shots, one of which passed 
me. My mare left outside 
they took away, but we re- 
covered her after the siege 
minus bridle, pistols, and six 

" O'Brien disgraced his rebel 
uniform after proposing five 
minutes to us to surrender 
arms or die. 

"After our victory and after 
we had barricaded for the 
night, S.-I. Cox and the Cashel 
men came to us they took 
the pikes of the killed and 
a powder fla?k from the scene ; 
we expect them back. 

"In an hour after S.-L 
Monahan's party came up 
they took away for their 
quarters, we for ours ! 
" God Save the Queen ! 
"8 P.M. 

" My men are as brave and 
cool as lions. 

" J. TRANT, S.-I. 

" I am up since four o'c. and 
eat nothing since five," 

On either side the commis- 
sariat received scant attention ! 

That O'Brien had totally 
miscalculated the energies of 
the Irish people was evident 
not only at Farrinrory, but at 
every halting-place in his seven 
days' itinerary. O'Brien him- 
self confessed as much when 
all was over, nor did he seek 
to disavow responsibility for 
his disastrous failure ; but 
those who know the Munster 
counties of Tipperary and 
Limerick best will be most 
ready to admit how inflam- 
mable was the material on 
which he was working, how 
great a fire a small spark 
might have kindled there, and 
how different might have been 
the results had O'Brien met 
with even a temporary success 
or the Constabulary for a 
moment wavered in their 
adhesion to the Crown. Pro- 
bably their loyalty to duty 
saved Ireland from civil war 
in '48. At the subsequent 
trial of Meagher, M'Manus, 
and O'Donoghue, Chief-Justice 
Doherty, in passing sentence, 
expressed himself in language 
which was afterwards endorsed 
by public opinion and the 
press : " It is not to any for- 


The Irish Rebellion of " Forty -Eight." 


bearanoe on your part that 
that rebellion, for such I may 
term it, which broke out in 
that week, was brought to a 
speedy conclusion. It is not 
due to you; it is under God 
attributable to the fidelity 
and bravery of the police 
force. When I reflect what 
might have been the conse- 
quences if that police force, 
either seduced by promises or 
intimidated by threats which 
were made use of, had yielded 
to the advances that were 
made to them, if they had been 
overwhelmed by the congre- 
gated numbers that assembled 
and attempted their destruc- 
tion, or if they had failed in 
dispersing those bands of rebels 
that assembled around them 
on the hills I think there is 
no fair man who, looking at 
and contemplating what the 
state of this country might 
have been, will not see how 
rapidly a temporary success 
might have added to the num- 
bers of the insurgents, and 
how soon this country might 
have been deluged in blood 
and given over to all the 
horrors of civil war. It is from 
that we have escaped by the 
fidelity and bravery of the 
police force." 

Most of the leaders went 
into hiding and escaped after 
the " shooting - match " at 

Ballingarry ; but a few, in- 
cluding O'Brien, Meagher, 
M'Manus, O'Donoghue, and 
Maurice Leyne were safely 
lodged in Clonmel jail, and 
eventually transported. Two 
months later there was a final 
flash in the pan. John 
O'Mahony, well known in after 
times as the Fenian Head 
Centre, with others, attacked 
some police barracks on the 
borders of Kilkenny and Tip- 
perary. A few policemen and 
peasants were killed. Fintan 
Lalor, Thomas Clarke Luby, 
and Brennan decided to carry 
on as a Directory, and in '49 
arranged an " echo " of the 
rising. They met at Clonmel, 
and planned simultaneous at- 
tacks on Cashel and Dun- 
garvan. Der Tag arrived, but 
Cashel and Dungarvan were 
undismayed. There was a 
slight skirmish at Cappoquin, 
where the police again carried 
off the honours. Luby was 
arrested and imprisoned, a few 
peasants were transported, and 
the "echo" blew over like a 
puff of smoke. The Waterford 
and Tipperary mountains had 
been in labour fr the third 
time, and the result was more 
ridiculous than ever. After 
Lalor's effort insurrections 
went out of favour in Ireland 
for many a day. 






SHE was not new and nobody 
oould call her handsome. She 
was evidently more accustomed 
to rough weather than paint, 
and her sloping forecastle 
and low freeboard were old- 
fashioned, to say the least of 
them. She jogged slowly 
along, rolling to a short beam 
sea, with an apologetic air, as 
if she felt ashamed of being 
what she was a pre-war 
torpedo-boat on local patrol 

She steered no particular 
course, and varied her speed 
capriciously as she beat up and 
down. Being in sight of the 
land a grey, hard, low line 
to the westward there was 
no need for accurate plotting 
of courses. On the bridge 
stood her Captain, a dark, 
lean, R.N.B. Lieutenant, pipe in 
mouth and hands in " lammy " 
pockets. The T.B. was rolling 
too much for any one to walk 
the tiny deck of the bridge ; in 
fact, a landsman would have 
had difficulty in standing at 
all. He turned his head as his 
First Lieutenant swung up the 
little iron ladder behind him. 

"What's for lunch?" he 
asked, carefully knocking out 
his pipe on the rail before him. 

" The same," said his laconic 
subordinate, who was engaged 
in a rapid survey of the com- 
pass card, revolution indicator, 
and the horizon astern. The 
two stood side by side a 
moment looking out at the sea 

and sky to windward. "Any 
pickles?" said the Captain. 

"No, only mustard." 

The Captain sighed and 
turned to leave the bridge. 
The First Lieutenant pivoted 
suddenly " It's better'n you 
and I had off the Horn in the 
Harvester. You'd 've been 
glad to get beef then, even if 
it was in a tin." He snorted, 
and turned forward again to 
look ahead. The Captain re- 
mained at the foot of the 
ladder, reading a signal handed 
to him by a waiting Boy Tele- 
graphist. The argument on 
the subject of tinned beef had 
lasted a year already, and 
oould be continued at leisure. 

The boy received the signal 
back and vanished below, while 
the Captain climbed slowly 
to the bridge again. He spoke 
to the man at the wheel, and 
himself moved the revolution 

"Panic?" said the First 
Lieutenant (neither of them 
seemed to use more than one 
word at a time, unless engaged 
in an argument). 

"Sure, "was the reply. "Tell 
'em to make that blinkin' stuff 
into sandwiches and send 'em 

The First Lieutenant went 
down the ladder in silence. 
The matter of the tinned beef 
was to him, as mess caterer, 
a continual sore point. 

The T.B. started on a more 
erratic course than before, 


taoking in long, irregular 
stretches out to seaward. 
Smoke was showing up against 
the land astern, and there was 
a sense of stirring activity in 
the air. 

Two more torpedo-boats ap- 
peared suddenly from nowhere, 
hoists of coloured flags flying 
at their slender masts. The 
three hung on one course a 
moment, conferring, then spread 
fanwise and separated. The 
first boat turned back towards 
harbour and the growing smoke- 
puffa, whioh rapidly approached 
and showed more and more 
mine-sweepers coming out. 

A droning, humming noise 
made the Captain look up, and 
he pivoted slowly round, fol- 
lowing with his eyes a big sea- 
plane a thousand feet above 

As the sound of the engines 
died away, it seemed to start 
swelling again, as another ma- 
chine appeared a mile abeam 
of them, and following the first. 

The T.B. swung round ahead 
of the leading sweepers, and 
turned baok to seaward. Her 
speed was not great, but half 
an hour after the turn the 
sweepers were hull down astern. 
A small airship slipped out of 
a low cloud and droned away 
on the common course. Every 
type of small craft seemed to 
be going easterly, and the sea, 
whioh an hour ago had been 
almost blank, was now dotted 
with patrol ships of every queer 
kind and rig. From overhead 
it must have looked like a pack 
of hounds tumbling out of cover 
and spreading on a faint line. 
But, like the hounds, the float- 
ing pack was working to an 

H.M.S. . 207 

end, and whatever the various 
courses steered, the whole was 
working out to sea. 

The Boy Telegraphist hauled 
himself, panting, on to the 
bridge, and thrust a crumpled 
signal before the Captain's 
eyes. The Captain grunted 
and spoke shortly, and the 
boy dashed off below. A mo- 
ment later the piping of calls 
sounded along the bare iron 
deck, and men in heavy sea- 
boots began to cluster aft and 
at the guns. The funnels sent 
out a protesting spout of brown 
smoke as the T.B. began to 
work up to her speed, and the 
choppy sea sent up a steady 
sheet of spray along her fore- 
castle and over the crouohiug 
figures at the bow gun. The 
rest of the pack appeared to 
have caught the whimper too, 
for everything that could raise 
more than " Tramp's pace" was 
hurrying due east. A faint 
dull " boom " came drifting 
down wind as the First Lieu- 
tenant arrived on the bridge, 
and the two officers looked at 
each other in silence a moment. 

"Bomb, sir?" said the 
junior, showiog an interest 
whioh almost made him con- 

"Sure thing," said the other. 
" She gave us the tip when she 
saw him, and that'll be one to 
put him under." 

"How far d'you think it 

" Seven-eight mile. You all 
ready ? " 

The First Lieutenant nodded 
and slipped down the ladder 
again. Three miles astern came 
a couple of white specks the 
bow -waves of big destroyers 


pushed to their utmost power. 
The Captain studied them a 
moment with his binoculars, 
and gave a grunt which the 
helmsman rightly interpreted 
aa one of satisfaction. Slow 
as she was, the old T.B. had 
a long start, and was going 
to be on the spot first. The 
dark was shutting down, and 
the shapes of the other T.B.'s 
on either beam were getting 

The night was starlit, and 
with the wind astern the T.B. 
made easy weather of it. The 
two officers leaned forward over 
the rail staring ahead towards 
the unseen land. Lights showed 
on either hand, and occasion- 
ally they swung past the dark 
squat shape of a lit trawler, 
also bound home. 

"Are you going to claim?" 
asked one of the watching 
figures. The other paused be- 
fore replying 

" We-ell," he said, "Til just 
report. / think we shook him 
to the bunt, but it's no good 
claiming unless you can show 

H.M.S. . [Feb. 

prisoners, Iron Cross and all." 
Another ruminative pause. 
"Your people were smart on 
it devilish smart." Another 
pause. " What's for dinner ? " 

A dark mass ahead came 
into view, and turned slowly 
into a line of great ships 
coming towards them. 

The T.B. swung off to star- 
board, and slowed her engines. 
One by one they went past her 
huge, silent, and scornful, 
while the T.B. rooked uneasily 
in the cross sea made by their 
wakes. The Captain watched 
them go, chewing the stem of 
his unlit pipe. They were the 
cause of the day's activity, but 
it was seldom he met them at 
close range except like this, in 
the dark on his way home. 

The line seemed endless, 
more and more dark hulls 
coming into view, and fading 
quickly into the dark again. 
As the last swung by the 
T.B.'s telegraph bells rang 
cheerfully, and she jogged off 
westward to where a faint low 
light flickered at intervals 
under the land. 


A stranger, if suddenly trans- 
planted to the spot, would 
have taken some time after 
opening his eyes to realise that 
the boat was submerged. He 
would probably decide at first 
that she was anchored in har- 
bour. Far away forward, under 
an avenue of overhead electric 
lamps, figures could be seen 
all either recumbent or seated 
and from them the eye was led 
on till it lost its sense of dis- 

tance in a narrowing perspec- 
tive of wheels, pipes, and 
gauges. All the while there 
was a steady buzzing hum 
from slowly turning motors, 
and about every half minute 
there came a faint whir of gear 
wheels from away aft by the 
hydroplanes. From the bell- 
mouths of a cluster of voice- 
pipes a murmur of voices 
sounded the conversation of 
officers by the periscope j while 




the ear, if close to the arched 
steel hull, oould catch a bub- 
bling, rippling noise the voice 
of the North Sea passing over- 

The men stationed aft near 
the motors were not over-clean, 
and were certainly unshaven ; 
some were asleep or reading 
(the literature carried and read 
by the crew would certainly 
have puzzled a librarian it 
varied from 'Tit -Bits' and 
'John Bull' to ' Piers Plow- 
man' and 'The Origin of 
Species ') : a few were engaged 
in a heated discussion as they 
sat around a big torpedoman 
the only man of the group 
actually on duty at the moment. 
His duties appeared only to 
consist in being awake and on 
the spot if wanted, and he was, 
as a matter of fact, fully occu- 
pied as one of the leading 
spirits in the argument. 

" Well, let's 'ear what you're 
getting at," he said. "We 
'eard a lot of talk but it don't 
go anywhere. You say you're 
a philosopher, but you don't 
know what you do mean." 

"/ know blanky well, but 
you can't understand me," said 
the engine-room artificer ad- 
dressed. "Look here, now 
you've got to die sometime, 
haven't you?" 

" Granted, Professor." 

" Well, it's all arranged now 
how you're to die, I say. It 
doesn't matter when or how it 
is, but it's all settled see ? 
And you don't know, and none 
of us know anything about it." 

"That's all very well but 
'oo is it knows, then? D'you 
mean God?" 

" No, I don't I'm an 

atheist, I tell you. There's 
something that arranges it all, 
but it ain't God." 

"Well, 'oo the 'ell is it, then 
the Admiralty ? " 

The Artificer leaned forward, 
his dark eyes alight and his 
face earnest as that of some 
medieval hermit. "I tell you," 
he said, "you can believe in 
God, or Buddha, or anything 
you like, but it's the same 
thing. Whatever it is, it 
doesn't care. It has it all 
ready and arranged written 
out, if you like and it will 
have to happen just so. It's 
pre pre " 

" Predestination." The deep 
voice came from the Leading 
Stoker on the bench beside 

" Predestination. No amount 
of praying's any good. It's no 
use going round crying to gods 
that aren't there to help you. 
You've got to go through it as 
it's written down." 

"Prayer's all right," said 
the Leading Stoker. "If you 
believe what you pray, you'll 
get it." 

"That's not true. Have 
you ever had it? Give us an 
instance now " 

"I don't pray none, thank 
you. All the same, it's good 
for women and such that go 
in for it, like. It ain't the 
things that alter; it's your- 
self that does it. 
never 'eard o' 
Science ? " 

"Yes; same as 
mons, ain't it? Is 
you are ? " 

"No, it ain't an* I'm a 
Unitarian, same as you are." 

"I'm not I'm a Baptist, 

Ain't you 

the Mor- 
that what 


same as my father was; but 
I don't believe in it." 

" Well, if you believe in one 
God, that's what you are." 

"But I'm telling you, I 
don't. Look here, now. I 
don't believe there's anything 
happens at all that wasn't all 
arranged first, and I know 
that nothing can alter it." 

"Well, 'oo laid it all down 
first go off, then?" said the 

"Ah 1 I don't know and you 
don't know; but I tell you it 
wasn't God." 

" Well, 'e's a bigger man 
than me then, an' I takes me 
'at off to 'im, 'ooever it is. I 
tell yer, yer talkin' through 
yer neck. You say if you're 
going to be shot, there's a 
bullet about somewhere in 
some one's pouch with yer 
name writ on it. Ain't that 
it ? Well, 'oo the 'ell put yer 
name on it, then ? " 

" It doesn't matter to me 
so long's it's there, does it ? " 

" Well, if that was so, I'd 
like to know 'oo 'e was, so's 
I could pass 'im the word 
not to 'ave the point filed off 
of it for me, anyway." 

" Well, you couldn't and he 
couldn't alter it for you if he 
was there, either." 

The Torpedoman moved 
along the bench and twisted 
his head round till his ear was 
against one of the voice-pipes. 
The others sat silent and 
watched him with lazy interest. 
"We're takin' a dip," he 
said. "Thought I 'eard 'im 
say, 'Sixty feet/" The faint 
rolling motion that had been 
noticeable before died away, 
and the boat seemed to have 

H.M.S. . [Feb. 

become even more peaceful and 
silent. The Leading Stoker 
leaned back against the hull 
and rested his head against 
the steel. From the starboard 
hand there came a faint mur- 
mur, which grew till the regular 
threshing beat of a propeller 
could be distinguished. The 
sound swelled till they could 
hear in its midst a separate 
piping, squeaking note. The 
ship passed on overhead, and 
the threshing sound passed 
with her and faded until again 
the steady purr of motors re- 
mained the only reminder of 
the fact that the boat was 
diving. They felt her tilt up 
a little by the bow as she 
climbed back to regain her 
patrol depth. 

"That's a tramp," said 
the Torpedoman; "nootral, I 

" Squeaky bearing, too," said 
the Artificer judicially. "Don't 
suppose he's looked at his thrust 
since he left port. What's the 
skipper want to go under her 

"Save trouble, I s'pose; 
didn't want to alter helm for 
'er. What was you talkin' of 
yes, Kismet that's the word 
I've been wantin' all along. 
You're a Mohammedan, you 

" Aw, don't be a fool ; I tell 
you, I'm nothing." 

The fourth wakeful figure, 
another Torpedoman, spoke for 
the first time. " If you're noth- 
ing, and you think you're noth- 
ing, what the 'ell d'yer want to 
make such a fuss about it for ? " 

"/dou't make a fuss. It's 
all you people who think you're 
something who make a fuss. 

1918.] H.M.S. 

You can't alter what's laid 
down, but you think you oan. 
You fuss and panic to stave 
things off, but you're like 
chickens in a coop you can't 
get out till your master lets 
you, and he can't understand 
what you say, and he wouldn't 
pay any attention to it if he 

The big Torpedoman put out 
a hand like a knotted oak-root 
and spoke 

"You an' your Kismet," he 
said scornfully. "Look 'ere, 
now. This is gospel, and I'm 
tellin' of yer. S'pose there is 
a bullet about with your name 
on it, but s'posin' you shoot 

the other first, and there's 

to 'ell with yer Kismet. Gawd 
'elps those that 'elp themselves, 
I say. S'pose we 'it a Fritz 
now, under water ; 'oo's Kismet 
is it ? Never mind 'oo's ar- 
ranged it or 'oo's down in the 
book to go through it, the 
bloke that gets 'is doors closed 
first and 'as the best trained 
crew is goin' to come 'ome and 
spin the yarn about it. I say 
it may be written down as you 
say, but there's Someone 'oldin' 
the book, an' 'e says: * Cross 
off that boat this time,' 'e 
says. * They've got the best 
lot aboard of 'em,' 'e'd say. Is 
it Kismet if yer thrust collars 
go? Are you goin' to stop 
oilin' 'em because it's in the 
book an' you can't alter it? 
Yer talkin' through yer neck. 
Call it luck, if yer like. It's 
luck if we 'it a mine, and it's 
luck if we don't, but if we meet 
a Fritz to-night an' poop off 
the bow gun an' miss that's 
goin' to be our blanky fault, 


an' you oan call it any blanky 
name, but you won't alter it." 

"But you don't under- 
stand," said the Artificer. "I 
didn't " 

"Action Stations Stand by 
all tubes." The voice rang 
clearly from the mouth of the 
voice-pipe, and the group leapt 
into activity. For sixty sec- 
onds there was apparent pan- 
demonium the purr of the 
motors rose to a quick hum, 
and the long tunnel of the 
hull rang with noises, clatter 
and clang and hiss. The 
sounds stopped almost as sud- 
denly as they had begun, and 
the voices of men reporting 
"Beady" could be heard be- 
yond the high-pitched note of 
the motors. 

The big Torpedoman stretched 
across his tube to close a valve, 
and caught the eye of the 
fourth participant in the re- 
cent debate. "Say, Dusty," 
he whispered, " 'ere's Some- 
one's Kismet in this blanky 
tube, an' I reckon I ain't forgot 
the detonator in 'er nose, 
> i 

The Captain lowered the 
periscope, his actions almost 
reverent in their artificial 
calm. He looked up at the 
navigating officer a few feet 
away and smiled. "Just turn- 
ing to east," he said. "We'll 
be in range inside three min- 
utes." He glanced fore and 
aft the boat and then back 
at his watch. "By gum," he 
said, " it's nice to have a good 
crew. I haven't had to give 
a single order, and I wouldn't 
change a man of 'em," 






Peter Mottin was an act- 
ing Sub-Lieutenant, but even 
aoting Sub- Lieutenants from 
Whale Island may hunt if 
they oan get the requisite 
day's leave and oan muster the 
price of a hired mount. The 
hounds poured out of Creech 
Wood, and Mottin glowed with 
intense delight as his iron- 
mouthed horse took the rails 
in and out of the lane and 
followed the pack up the 
seventy - acre pasture from 
whence the holloa had come. 
It was late in a February 
afternoon, and most of the 
dispirited field had gone home, 
so that there was no crowd 
and a February fox on a good 
scenting day is a customer 
worth waiting for. Mottin sat 
back as a five-foot out and laid 
hedge grew nearer, and blessed 
the owner of his mount as the 
big black cleared the jump 
with half a foot to spare. 
Two more big fences, cut as 
level as a rule, and the field 
was down to six, with three 
Hunt servants. The fox was 
making for Hyden Wood, and 
scent was getting better every 
minute. A clattering canter 
through a farmyard, and Mottin 
followed the huntsman over a 
ramshackle gate on to grass 
again. The huntsman capped 
the tail -hounds on as he 
galloped, and Mottin realised 
that if they were going to kill 
before dark they would have 
to drive their fox fast. Biding 

to his right he saw Sangatte 
a destroyer officer, whom 
he knew only by name but 
whom he envied for the fact 
that he seemed able to hunt 
when he liked and could afford 
to keep his own horses. As 
they neared a ragged bull- 
finch hedge at the top of a 
long slope he saw Sangatte 
put on speed and take it right 
in the middle, head down and 
forearm across his eyes. Mottin 
eased his horse to give the 
huntsman room at the gate in 
the left-hand corner. The 
pilot's horse rapped the top 
bar slightly, and as Mottin 
settled himself for the leap, 
he saw the gate begin to swing 
open away from him. There 
was no time to change his 
mind he decided he must 
jump big and trust to luck, 
but the black horse failed him. 
The hireling knew enough to 
think for himself, and seeing 
the gate begin to swing, de- 
cided that a shorter stride 
would be safer. The disagree- 
ment resulted as such differ- 
ences of opinion are liable to 
do in a crash of breaking 
wood and a whirling, stunning 
fall. Mottin rose shakily on 
one leg, feeling as if the ankle 
of the other was being drilled 
with red-hot needles, and swore 
at the black horse as it galloped 
with trailing bridle down the 
long stubble field towards 
Soberton Down. He saw 
Sangatte look back and then 


wrenoh his brown mare round 
to ride off the hireling as it 
passed. He oaught the dan- 
gling reins and swung both 
horses round, and came hurry- 
ing and impatient baok. As 
he arrived he checked the 
mare and turned in his 
saddle to watch the receding 

" Come on," he said. " Quiok 
you'll catch 'em at Hyden." 
He turned to look at Mottin 
by the gate-post, in irritation 
at feeling no snatch at the 
black horse's rein. His face 
fell slightly. " Hullo hurt ?" 
he said, and leapt from his 

"Go on. Don't wait. Go 
on," said Mottin. "I'll be all 
right. You get on it's only 
my ankle." 

" Damn painful too, I expect. 

H.M.S. . 213 

I'm not going on. They'll be 
at Butser before I could catch 
them now, and I bet they whip 
off in the dark." He threw 
the reins over the mare's head 
and left her standing. " Now," 
he said. " It's your left ankle ; 
come here to the near side, 
and put your left knee on my 
hands and jump for it." 

Mottin complied, and to the 
accompaniment of a grunt and 
a pain - expelled oath arrived 
baok in the muddy saddle. 

"I say, this is good of 
you you know," he said ; 
"but you've " 

"Cut it out it won't 
anything of a run, 
lied Sangatte gloomily. 

" Come along it's only three 
miles to Droxford, but you'll 
have to walk all the way, and 
we'd better get on." . . , 



The big seaplane circled 
low over the harbour and 
then headed seaward, climbing 
slowly. There were two men 
aboard a young Sub -Lieu- 
tenant as pilot and Mottin as 
observer. Mottin sat crouched 
low and leaning forward as he 
studied the chart-holder before 
him and scratched times and 
notes in his log-book. They 
were off on a routine patrol, 
but there was the additional 
interest to the trip that on 
" information received " they 
were to pay a little more atten- 
tion than usual to a particular 

From his seat Mottin could 
see nothing of the pilot but his 

head and shoulders a back 
view only, and that obscured 
by swathings of leather and 
wool. The two men's heads 
were joined by a cumbersome 
arrangement of listeners and 
tubes which, theoretically, 
made conversation practicable. 
As a matter of fact, the invari- 
able rule of repeating every 
observation twice, and of add- 
ing embroidery to each repeti- 
tion, pointed to a discrepancy 
between the theory and prac- 
tice of the instrument. The 
machine was a big one and its 
engines were in proportion. 
The accommodation in the 
broad fuselage was consider- 
able, but on the present trip 




the missing units of the orew 
were accounted for by an 
equal weight of extra petrol 
and T.N.T. "eggs." 

The morning had been hazy 
and they had delayed their 
start till nearly noon. It was 
not as olear as it might be even 
then, for in a quarter of an 
hour from leaving the slip the 
land was out of sight astern. 
At a thousand feet the pilot 
levelled off and ceased to olimb. 
He flew mechanically, his head 
bent down to stare at the com- 
pass-card. At times he fiddled 
with air and throttle, twisting 
his head to watoh the revolu- 
tion indicator t The occasional 
bumping and rooking of the 
machine he corrected automa- 
tically without looking up. He 
had long ago arrived at the 
state of airmanship which 
makes a pilot into a sensitive 
inclinometer, acting every way 
at once. 

Mottiu finished his scrib- 
bling and sat up to look round. 
He raised himself till he sat on 
the back of his seat, and began 
to sweep the sea and horizon 
with a pair of large -field 
glasses. The wind roared past 
him, pressing his arm to his 
side as he faced to one side or 
the other, and making him 
strain the heavy glasses close 
to his eyes to keep them steady. 
An hour after starting he 
touched the pilot on the shoul- 
der and shouted into his own 
transmitter. He waited a few 
seconds and shouted again, with 
the conventional oath to drive 
the sound along. The pilot 
nodded his swathed and hel- 
meted head and swung the 

machine round to a new course. 
Mottin crouched down again 
and began to study his chart 
afresh. Navigation was easy 
so long as the weather was 
clear, but with poor visibility, 
which might get worse instead 
of better, he knew that it was 
remarkably easy to get lost in 
the North Sea, and at this 
moment he wanted to see his 
landfall particularly clearly. 
Five minutes later he saw it, 
and signalled a new course to 
the pilot by a nudge and a jerk 
of his gloved hand. A low 
dark line had appeared on the 
starboard bow, a line with tall 
spires and chimneys standing 
up from it at close intervals. 
The seaplane banked a little as 
they turned and headed away, 
leaving the land to recede and 
fade on their quarter. The 
hazy sun was low in the west 
and the mist was clearing. 
It had been none too warm 
throughout the journey, but it 
was now distinctly cold, the 
chill of a winter evening strik- 
ing through fur and leather as 
if their clothes had been slit 
and punctured in half a dozen 

Mottin had just slid back in 
his seat after a sweeping search 
of the sea through his glasses, 
and was slowly winding, with 
cold fur-gloved fingers, the neat 
carriage clock on the sloping 
board before him, when he 
heard a yelping war-cry from 
the pilot and felt the machine 
dive steeply and swerve to port. 
He half rose in his seat and 
then slipped back to feel for his 
bomb-levers. The submarine 
was just breaking surface eight 

1918.] H.M.S. 

hundred feet below and a mile 
ahead. As he looked she tuoked 
down her bow and slipped under 
again, having barely shown her 
conning - tower olear of the 
short ohoppy waves. The pilot 
throttled well down and glided 
over the smooth, ringed spot 
which marked where she had 
vanished. As it slid past be- 
low them he opened up hip 
engines again and "zoomed" 
back to his height. He turned 
his head to look at Mottin, but 
said nothing. Mottin made a 
circular motion with his hand 
and they began a wide sweep 
round, climbing all the while. 
Mottin sat back and thought 
hard. No, it had not been in- 
decision that had prevented 
him from dropping bombs then. 
He knew it was not that, but 
the exact reasons which had 
flashed through his mind at 
the fateful moment must be 
hunted out and marshalled 
again. He knew that his 
second self, his wide-awake 
and infallible substitute who 
took over command of his 
body in moments of emergency, 
had thought it all out in a 
flash and had arrived at his 
decision for sound reasons. 
Yes, it was olear now, but that 
confounded fighting substitute 
of his was just a bit cold- 
blooded, he thought. They had 
petrol for the run home with 
perhaps half an hour to spare. 
Fritz had not seen them, as his 
lid had not opened or at any 
rate if he had seen them through 
his periscope, the fact of no 
bomb having been dropped 
would encourage him to think 
that the seaplane had passed 


on unknowing. Of course they 
might have let go bombs, but, 
well, Fritz must have been 
at anything down to 80 feet 
at the moment they passed 
over him, and it was chancy 
shooting. Yes, it was quite 
olear. Fritz should be up 
again in an hour (he evidently 
wanted to come up), and if 
they were only high up and 
ready they would get a fair 
chance at him. Of course, 
they would not get home if 
they waited an hour; but if 
that cold-blooded second self 
of his thought it the right 
thing and a proper chance to 
take, well, it was so. Mottin 
looked over the side and wished 
it was not so loppy. A long 
easy swell was nothing, but 
this short ohoppy sea was 
going to be the devil. The 
pilot shouted something to him 
and pointed at the clock and 
the big petrol tank overhead. 
Mottin nodded comprehension, 
and shouted back. The Sub 
took a careful look overside 
and studied the water a mo- 
ment. Then he laughed back 
at Mottin, and shouted some- 
thing about bathing, which 
was presumably facetious, but 
which was lost in the recesses 
of the headpieces. 

The sun was down on the 
horizon, and the hour had 
grown to a full ninety minutes 
before the chance came. They 
had not worried about clocks 
or thoughts of petrol after the 
first half - hour of circling. 
They were "for it," anyhow, 
after that, and it was going 
to come in the dark too, so 
that the question of whether 


it was going to be fifty or a 
hundred miles from land did not 
make muoh difference. Almost 
directly below them the long 
grey hull rose and grew clear, 
the splashing waves making a 
wide area of white water show 
on each side of her. The sea- 
plane's engines stopped with 
startling suddenness, and to 
the sound of a rushing wind 
in the wires and of ticking, 
swishing propellers they began 
a two -thousand feet spiral 
glide, coming from as nearly 
overhead as the turning circle 
of the big machine would 
allow. At two hundred feet 
the pilot eased his rudder and 
began a wider turn, and then 
the German captain saw. He 
leapt for the conning -tower, 
leaving a startled look - out 
man behind. The man tried 
to follow him down, but the 
lid slammed before he could 
arrive at it. He turned and 
looked helplessly at the big 
planes and body rushing down 
a hundred yards astern. With 
his hands half raised and 
shoulders hunched up the 
poor devil met his death, two 
huge bombs "straddling" the 
conning -tower and bursting 
fairly on the hull as the boat 
started under. Mottin had a 
vision of a glare of light from 
the rent hull, a great rush 
of foaming, spouting air, and 
then a graceful knife-edge 
stem, with the bulge of 
torpedo-tubes on each side of 
it, just showed and vanished 
in the turmoil of broken water. 
The seaplane roared up again, 
heading west, the young pilot 
apparently oblivious to the 

H.M.S. . [Feb. 

fact that he hardly expected 
to be alive till morning dis- 
playing his feelings on the 
subject of his late enemy by 
a series of violent "switch- 

Mottin checked him, rose, 
and began a careful look 
round. Any ship would be 
welcome now, neutral or not; 
but this was an unfrequented 
area to hope to be picked up 
in. The petrol might last five 
minutes or half an hour one 
could not be certain. The 
gauge was hardly accurate 
enough in this old bus to 
work by. As he looked the 
engines gave a premonitory 
splutter and then picked up 
again. Well, it was five 
minutes, he reflected, not half 
an hour that was all. The 
pilot turned and headed up 
wind. With the engines miss- 
ing more and more frequently 
they glided down, making a 
perfect landing of the "inten- 
tional pancake" order on the 
crest of a white-topped four- 
foot wave. Instantly they 
began to feel the seas the 
hard, rough, senseless water 
that was so different to the 
air they had come from. The 
machine made wicked weather 
of it, and it was obvious that 
she could hardly last long. 
She lurched and rooked vici- 
ously, constraining them to 
cling to the sides of the frail 
body. Mottin pulled off his 
headpiece, and the pilot fol- 
lowed suit. 

"Well," said Mottin, "it was 
worth iteh ? " 

" By gum, yes ! It was 
that, and I give you full 


numbers, sir. I thought for 
a moment you had taken too 
long a chance, but you were 

A wave splashed heavily 
over the speaker and laid 
three inches of water in a 
pool around his ankles. 

"This is going to be a 
short business, sir, unless we 
get busy." 

"I know," said Mottin. 
"Case of four anchors and 
wish for the day. Sea anchor 
indicated, and mighty quick 
too." . . . 

An hour later it was pitch- 
dark, and a semi-waterlogged 
seaplane drifted south, head to 
sea, and bucketing her nose 
into the lop. Two figures 
crouched together in the body 
of her, baling mechanically. 
On the upper plane an electric 
torch glowed brightly, point- 
ing westward. The figures 
exchanged disjointed sentences 
as they baled, and occasion- 
ally one of them would 
stretch his head up for a 
glance round for possible 
passing lights. 

"Cheer up, Sub!" said 
Mottin. " Your teeth are 
chattering like the deuce. 
Bale harder and get warm." 

"It's not the cold, it's 
the weather that's doing me 
in, sir. I'm so damned sea- 

"Yes, it's a filthy motion, 
but she's steadier than she 
was. 'Fraid she's sinking." 

The Sub-Lieutenant ceased 
baling for a moment and 
looked into his senior's face, 
dimly lit by the reflection from 
the torch overhead. " Do you 

H.M.S. . 217 

know, sir," he said, "I don't 
feel as bucked as I did? I 
believe I've got half-way to 
cold feet about the show." 

"Do you know, Sub" 
Mottin copied the hesitating 
voice " I've had cold feet the 
whole blinkin' time? If it 
wasn't for one thing I keep 
thinking of, I'd be properly 
howling about it." 

"And what's that, sir?" 

"D'you remember a line of 
Kipling's in that ' Widow of 
sleepy Chester' poem? It's 
about * Fifty file of Burmans 
to open him Heaven's gate/ 
Well, that's keeping me 
cheered up." 

"'Mm that's true. How 
many do you think that boat 
carried ?" 

"Round about forty she 
was a big packet." 

"Only twenty file still, 
that's good enough. Besides, 
they'd have done damage to- 
morrow if we hadn't got 

"True for you, Sub and 
they might have killed women 
on that trip. Now they won't 
get the chance." 

"Twenty file. Ugh! I'll 
make 'em salute when I see 
them. Hullo ! See that, sir ? " 
The two men rose to their 
knees and stared out to the 
west. A bright glow showed 
beyond the horizon, and 
through it ran a flicker of 
pulsating flashes of vivid 
orange light. The glow broke 
out again a point to the north- 
ward, and the unmistakable 
beam of a searchlight swung 
to the clouds and down again. 
As they looked the glow 


spread, and the rippling flashes 
as gun answered gun came 
into view over their horizon. 
Mottin fumbled for the glasses, 
but found them wet through 
and useless. The action was 
evidently coming their way, 
and was growing into a pyro- 
technic display such as few are 
fortunate enough to see. 

" Destroyers coming right 
over us Very's pistol, quick ! 
We may get a chance here. 
Don't let the cartridges get 
wet, man, put 'em in your 
coat." The guns began to 
bark clearly above the strain- 
ing and bumping noise of the 
crumbling seaplane, and a 
wildly-aimed shell burst on the 
water half a mile to windward. 
Both men were standing up 
now, staring at the extra- 
ordinary scene. A flotilla of 
destroyers passed each side of 
them, one leading the other by 
nearly a mile. The search- 
lights and gun-flashes lit the 
sea between the opposing lines, 
and the vicious shells sent 
columns of shining water up 
around the rapt spectators, 
or whipped overhead in a 
continued stuttering shriek. 

A big destroyer passed at 
half a cable's length in a 
quivering halo of light of her 
own making. The short 
choppy beam sea sent a steady 
sheet of spray across her fore- 
castle, a sheet that showed red 
in the light of the guns. As 
she passed the Sub- Lieutenant 
raised his hand above his head, 
and a Very's light sailed up 
into the air, showing every 
detail of the battered seaplane 
with startling clearness for a 

H.M.S. . [Feb. 

few seconds. A searchlight 
whirled round from the de- 
stroyer, steadied blindingly on 
their faces a moment, and was 
switched off on the instant. 
As swiftly as it had ap- 
proached, the fight flickered 
away to the eastward, till the 
last gleam was out of sight, 
and the two wet and aching 
men crouched back into the 
slopping water to continue 
their baling. 

"If they do find us, it'll be 
rather luck, sir," said the 
younger man. " She isn't 
going to last much longer." 

"Long enough, I reckon. 
But they may go donkey's 
miles in a running fight like 
that. Is that petrol tank 

"Yes, I couldn't get the 
union-nut off it was burred ; 
so I broke the pipe and bent it 
back on itself. It'll hold all 
right, I think at least it will 
only leak slowly. Hullo, she's 
going, sir." 

" Not quite. Pass that tank 
aft and we'll crawl out on the 
tail. That'll be the last bit 
under, and we may as well use 
her all we can." 

With gasps and strainings 
they half -lifted, half-floated the 
big tank along till they had it 
jammed on end between the 
rudder and the control-wires. 
They straddled the sloping tail, 
crouching low to avoid the 
smack of the breaking seas, 
their legs trailing in the icy 
water. With frozen fingers 
the Sub-Lieutenant removed 
two Very's cartridges from his 


breast-pocket and tucked them 
inside his leather waistcoat. 

A flurry of snow came down 
wind. The two were too wet 
already to notice it, but as it 
grew heavier the increased 
darkness made Mottin lift his 
head and look round. At that 
moment a gleam of brightness 
showed through to windward ; 
as he looked it faded and 
vanished. He leaned aft and 
shouted weakly 

" Come on, man, wake up ! 
Fire another one. They're 

It seemed an age to him 
before the pistol was loaded, 
and his heart sank as a dull 
click indicated an unmistak- 
able misfire. He watched the 
last cartridge inserted with 
dispassionate interest. If one 
was wet, the other was almost 
certain to be, and Bang ! 
The coloured ball of fire soared 
up into the driving snow, and 
the pistol slipped from the 
startled Sub-Lieutenant's hand 
and shot overboard. The 
searchlight came on again 
and grew stronger and nearer, 
and as the glare of it became 
intolerable, a tall black bow 
came dipping and swaying 
past at a few yards' range. 
Mottin almost let his will- 
power go at that point the 
relief was too great. He had 
a confused memory afterwards 
of crashing wood as the tail- 
plane ground against a steel 
side, and of barking his shins 
as he was hauled across a wire 
guard-rail and dropped on a 
very nubbly deck. The ward- 
room seemed a blaze of intense 
light after the darkness out- 

H.M.S. . 219 

side, and the temporary sur- 
geon who took charge of him 
the most sensible and charming 
person in the Service. 

" Sit down take your coat off 
lap this down. That's right. 
Now, I have two duties in this 
ship I'm doctor and I'm the 
wine caterer. They are not in- 
compatible. You will therefore 
go to bed now in the Captain's 
cabin, and you'll have a hot 
toddy as soon as you're there ; 
come along now (and get your 
clothes off. Your mate is in the 
First Lieutenant's cabin, and 
he won't wake up till morn- 

Twenty minutes later Mot- 
tin, from beneath a pile of 
blankets, heard a tinkle of 
curtain rings and looked out. 
A muffled, snow-covered figure 
entered quietly and began to 
peel off a lammy coat. Mottin 

" Hullo ! How are you feel- 
ing ? I've just come for a 
change of clothes. I won't be 
long I'm Sangatte. No, that's 
all right. I won't be turning 
in to-night ; we're going right 
up harbour, and I'll be busy 
till daylight." 

He bustled round the chest 
of drawers, pulling out woollen 
scarves, stockings, &o., and 
talking rapidly. " Lucky touch 
our finding you. I noted posi- 
tion when your first light went 
up, but as the chase looked 
like running on ninety mile 
yet, I didn't expect to find 
you. Your joss was in, be- 
cause the snow came down 
and they put up a smoke- 
screen and ceased fire, so we 


lost touch, and I hadn't far 
to oome back to look for you. 
Got a Fritz, did you Good 
man ! We'll have a bottle on 
your decoration when we get 
in. The Huns? Yes, they lost 
their rear ship right off, and 
the others were plastered good 
and plenty. We lost one on 
a mine, but we took the crew 
off and sank her. I sank your 
'plane just now tied a pig of 
ballast to her and chucked it 
over. I thought you might 
have left some papers oh ! 
you've got 'em, have you? 
That's good." 

"Yes, they're in my coat 
pocket. I say, haven't I 
seen you before ? I seem 
to remember you. Do you 

H.M.S. . [Feb. 

hunt?" Mottin stretched his 
legs out sleepily as he 

"Yes met you with the 
Hambledon or Cattistook, I 
expect. Haven't been on a 
horse for all of three years, 
though; and I don't suppose 
there'll be much doing that 
way for a long time, now 
they're putting half the coun- 
try under plough. S'long. 
I'm for the bridge; ring that 
bell if you want anything. 
The Doo.'s got one or two 
wounded forrard, so he'll be 
busy, but my servant '11 look 
out for you." The curtain 
clashed back, and Mottin, 
turning over, slid instantly 
into a log-like sleep. 


The way of a ship at racing speed 

In a bit of a rising gale, 

The way of a horse of the only breed 

At a Droxford post-and-rail, 

The way of a brand-new aeroplane 

On a frosty winter dawn. 

You'll oome back to those again ; 
Wheel or cloche or slender rein 
Will keep you young and clean and sane, 
And glad that you were born. 

The power and drive beneath me now are above the power of 


It's mine the word that lets her loose and in my ear she sings 
" Mark now the way I sport and play with the rising hunted 

Across my grain in cold disdain their ranks are hurled at me. 

1918.] H.M.S. . 221 

But down my wake is a foam-white lake, the remnant of 

their line, 
That broke and died beneath my pride your foemen, man, 

and mine." 

The perfect tapered hull below is a dream of line and curve, 
An artist's vision in steel and bronze for the gods and men to 


If ever a statue oame to life, you quivering slender thing, 
It ought to be you my racing girl as the Amazon song you 


Down the valley and up the slope we run from scent to view. 
"Steady, you villain you know too much I'm not so wild 

as you; 
You'll get me cursed if you catch him first there's at least a 

mile to go, 
So swallow your pride and ease your stride, and take your 

fences slow. 
Your high-pricked ears as the jump appears are comforting 

things to see; 

Your easy gallop and bending neck are signals flying to me. 
You wouldn't refuse if it was wire with oalthrops down in front, 
And there we are with a foot to spare you best of all the Hunt !" 

Great sloping shoulders galloping strong, and a yard of 
floating tail, 

A fine old Irish gentleman, and a Hampshire post-and-rail. 

The sun on the fields a mile below is glinting off the grass 
That slides along like a rolling map as under the clouds I pass. 
The early shadows of byre and hedge are dwindling dark below 
As up the stair of the morning air on my idle wheels I go, 
Nothing to do but let her alone she's flying herself to-day, 
Unless I chuck her about a bit there isn't a bump or sway. 
So there s a bank at ninety-five and here's a spin and 
a spiral dive, 

And here we are again. 

222 H.M.S. . [Feb. 

And that's a roll and twist around, and that's the sky and there's 
the ground, 

And I and the aeroplane 

Are doing a glide, but upside-down, and that's a village and 
that's a town 

And now we're rolling back. 

And this is the way we olimb and stall and sit up and beg on 
nothing at all, 

The wires and strainers slack. 

And now we'll try and be good some more, and open the throttle 
and hear her roar 

And steer for London Town. 

For there never a pilot yet was born who flew a machine on a 
frosty morn 

But started stunting soon, 

To feel if his wires were really there, or whether he flew on ice 
or air, 

Or whether his hands were gloved or bare, 
Or he sat in a free balloon. 





OUR political leaders now 
exhort us to readjust all pre- 
oonoeived ideas on the subject 
of agriculture, and to erase 
from our minds once and for 
all the shibboleth thereon cur- 
rent in the century which has 
elapsed since the wars with 
Napoleon. Up to the very 
opening of the blockade of 
Great Britain by German mine 
and submarine, it had been 
insistently dinned into our ears 
that agriculture must on no 
account be allowed to develop, 
because, forsooth, it was de- 
clared that a prosperous farm- 
ing industry must, by employ- 
ing the small available margin 
of labour, be disadvantageous 
to both manufactures and 
shipping. For the bulk of 
the nation, so said such political 
economists, it was surely better 
that every man possible should 
be employed in manufactures 
rather than in the production 
of corn and cattle. Because, 
said they, our immense fleets 
of merchant shipping were able 
to bring as much foodstuffs to 
the shores of Great Britain 
as she could possibly want, 
whereas the farmer at the best 
of times was capable only of 
raising on her soil three-fifths 
of the necessary meat and but 
one-fifth of the corn needed to 
fill the mouths of her hungry 
millions. And, to clinch the 
argument, it would be at a far 
greater cost to the nation. 

Plausible doctrines such as 
these unfortunately led to the 
ousting of agriculture from her 

rightful position, that of the 
basic industry of the United 
Kingdom, and now that a 
world-war is once more upon 
us, have resulted in laying a 
responsibility, over - heavy in 
consequence, upon the ships, 
officers, and men of our Mer- 
cantile Marine. 

Memorable for ever in the 
annals of that courageous body 
will be the 29th of October 
1917, for then, by the votes of 
both Houses of Parliament, the 
self-sacrificing services of what 
was of old known as the Mer- 
chant Navy of England were 
placed side by side with those 
of her present Battle Squad- 
rons. This national vote of 
thanks is a new thing in 
history, accorded for the first 
time for war services to the 
Mercantile Marine, though 
very far from being the first 
time such public acknowledg- 
ment has been deserved. How- 
ever, the country's seeming 
ingratitude arose probably 
from the fact that in earlier 
days barely any distinction 
existed between the services 
demanded by England from 
the ships of both her Navies, 
the vessels belonging to mer- 
chants being, as a matter of 
course, armed, equally with 
those of the Royal Navy, for 
peace as well as for war. 

In the present trend of 
political feeling in favour of 
Home Rule, not only for Ire- 
land but in every sphere of 
public life, it is curiously inter- 
esting to trace a decided rever- 


Shipping and Agriculture. 


sion in outward semblance to 
the system of government 
devised by Norman and Plan- 
tagenet kings. Aooording to 
extremists of to-day, each 
division of Great Britain, nay, 
eaoh separate county, is entitled 
to complete self-government 
under one federal Parliament. 
And in olden times, as we all 
know, a seeming autonomy, 
though in substance, of course, 
unlike that now talked about, 
was actually possessed by every 
city and burgher-town. Eaoh 
district, also, in the country 
was ruled over by a feudal 
lord, whose sway none dared 
to dispute so long as he duti- 
fully mustered his men-at-arms 
at the King's call, and wrung 
the subsidies allotted by Par- 
liament to the Crown from the 
lands and goods of his sturdy 
vassals. Then again, over all 
matters pertaining to the sea, 
"the Admiral of England" 
presided : a needful devolution 
of authority, designed to check 
the rapacity of England's kings. 
In 1248, for instance, the Lords 
of Parliament refused to grant 
a supply to the third Henry, 
basing that refusal on the 
ground that, "Whatsoever of 
eatables and drinkables, and 
even in his robes, but particu- 
larly in the wines that he used, 
his custom was to take it by 
force from the lawful owners 
and venders of them. By 
these means greatly injuring 
his natural -born subjects, as 
well as foreign merchants who 
brought goods into this king- 
dom. And that the trade by 
which nations enrich eaoh 
other would be ruined." 
Nigh a century later, at a time 

so critical that to raise money 
to carry on war with France, 
Edward, King of England, was 
positively forced to pawn not 
merely the jewels of his Queen, 
but his very Crown also to a 
foreign archbishop, the feudal 
system of government, entailing 
as it did the minimum of ex- 
pense to the country for the 
maximum of effect in the raising 
of fighting forces, had, it must 
be confessed, considerable ad- 
vantages. Edward, the third 
of his name, and the Black 
Prince, being then absent at 
the war, and an enemy fleet of 
400 sail lying off Sluys, the 
proceedings of a Parliament 
hastily assembled, to prevent a 
landing by the French, prove 
with what ease and rapidity 
the defence of the realm could 
then be provided for. 

To this Parliament came 
merchants, owners of ships, and 
mariners, to be consulted by 
the Lords and Commons as to 
the surest means for the keep- 
ing the sea and for defence of 
the North Marches. Finally, 
after much discourse, the 
mariners of the Cinque Ports 
agreed on the 20th of January 
to make ready their ships 
before mid -Lent. "Twenty- 
one ships of their own and nine 
of the Thames, and to bear 
half the charges themselves 
[more than their Charter 
obliged them to do] ; the other 
half the Privy Council pro- 
mised to bear of their own 
good will to their King and 
Country, but not of duty, for 
that should stand for a pre- 
cedent. The mariners of the 
West promised to set forth 
ninety sail and ten ships of the 


Skipping and Agriculture* 


burden of one hundred ton or 
more, and to bear the whole 
charges if they could. Two 
sufficient scholars were ap- 
pointed to compute the charges, 
the one for the West and the 
other for the Cinque Ports, and 
it was ordered that the larger 
ships of Portsmouth and the 
West should ride at Dart- 
mouth ; the Admiral to be 
Kiohard Fitz-Alan, Earl of 
Arundel. And that the ships 
of the Cinque Ports should ride 
at Winohelsea ; the Admiral to 
be William Clinton, Earl of 

The charter of the Cinque 
Ports, in the time of William 
the Conqueror, had fixed the 
wages of each master of a ship 
at sixpence a day, equal by 
Edward the Third's reign to at 
least eight shillings and four- 
pence of our pre-war money, 
and had also decreed that each 
of the then stipulated crew of 
twenty-one sailors was to be 
paid a daily threepence. 

The defence of the towns 
most open to attack was not 
overlooked by this Parliament, 
Lord Richard Talbot and the 
Bishop of Winchester, together 
with the Abbot of Hyde and 
the Prior of St Swithin's, 
undertaking the defence of 
Southampton, and Sir Thomas 
Rokeby that of the Castles of 
Edinburgh and Stirling. Then 
to ensure provisions for the 
town of Berwick, two mer- 
chants of Lyme Regis and 
Barton- upon -Humber agreed 
to deliver there 10,000 quarters 
of all kind of grain though 
at double the normal price 
every quarter of wheat and 
malt at nine shillings, and oats, 

beans, and peas at five shillings. 
A proviso was added " that 
under cover of their licence, 
they were not to lend aid to 
the King's enemies." To com- 
plete the mobilisation, nobles, 
knights, and gentlemen of York, 
Nottingham, Derby, Lancaster, 
Westmorland, and Cumberland, 
arrayed and set out soldiers to 
the number of 7400 men-at- 
arms, 200 archers on horseback, 
and two thousand halbardiers. 

Another proof, if one is 
needed, of the right of the 
Crown to the services of all the 
merchant shipping of the realm 
is given by the so called Naval 
Parliament, summoned in 1344 
by the ever - victorious Ed- 
ward III. Every seaport in 
the kingdom, in obedience to 
the royal command, sent dele- 
gates to London to give the 
King an exact account of all 
the shipping of their respective 
towns. At the siege of Calais, 
two years later, every vessel, 
both small and great, was 
pressed, together with their 
crews, into the fleet of 700 
English and 38 foreign ships 
commanded by the King. 
And Edward did not show 
himself ungrateful, for when 
in 1350 the merchants com- 
plained of the depredations of 
the Spanish pirates, he an- 
swered not merely in gracious 
fashion, that he "knew the 
very beginning of the kingdom 
depended on its commerce," 
but also at the head of a fleet, 
hastily got together, himself 
cleared the Channel of the 
marauding vessels. 

The first hint of separation 
between the two Navies of 
England was not given until 


Shipping and Agriculture. 


some fifty years later, the year 
after the sea-battle of Milt'ord 
Haven. At that date a Commis- 
sion was appointed by Parlia- 
ment no longer to demand the 
services of merchant ships as a 
right, but to " treat with the 
merchants for the safeguard- 
ing of the seas." The curious 
agreement then drawn up runs 
as follows : 

" That the merchants, marin- 
ers, and owners of English ships 
shall find and provide sufficient 
and able ships for 2000 fighting 
men, and 1000 seamen for a 
year and a half. To answer 
which expense they shall be 
allowed upon account 12d. in 
the pound of merchandize and 
3s. 5d. on every tun of wine: 
with the fourth part of the 
subsidy & on wools, wool- fells, 
and skins granted in the last 
Parliament : and that the mer- 
chants in levying the said sums 
should have warrants under 
the privy seal as there was 

"That the merchants shall 
enjoy all such prizes as they 
shall take, having due consider- 
ation for the King's Captains 
when he shall appoint any. 

" That if the Royal Navy of 
the enemy shall happen to be 
at sea, and the King make out 
against them, then the mer- 
chants aforesaid shall have one 
month's notice to provide. 

" The merchants aforesaid 
shall have reasonable warn- 
ing of any peace or truce to be 
made: after which they shall 
have due consideration for all 
their charges. 

" That the merchants name 
two persons, one for the South 
and the other for the North, 

who, by commission, shall have 
the same power as other Ad- 
mirals have on a like occasion. 

"Lastly, the merchants de- 
manded that they should have 
in advance the sum of 4000, 
but the answer was the King 
had it not." 

The check given to com- 
merce by the constant war 
services expected from the 
Merchant Navy of England 
was not so great, as might well 
be imagined from modern con- 
ditions. The most part of the 
trade of the kingdom was then 
in the hands of the Hanse, 
Flemish, Genoese, and Vene- 
tian merchants, all of whose 
vessels were exempt, most un- 
fairly, from seizure for the 
purposes of war. Assuredly, 
the merchants of medieval 
England, however jealous they 
might be of the foreign privi- 
leges, comprehended as well 
as those of to-day that the 
triumph of an enemy must, in 
the long-run, cost them far 
more than any service, paid or 
unpaid, compelled from them 
for the defence of the realm. 
And, too, for the reason that 
the produce of England then 
sufficed to feed the realm, the 
sacrifices demanded from the 
merchants of earlier times were 
far less rigorous than those 
now cheerfully undertaken by 
the owners, officers, and men 
of the Mercantile Marine. To- 
day, not only have our merchant 
ships to act in their ancient 
capacity, that of reinforcements 
to the Royal Navy, but they 
have also to use words spoken 
in the House of Lords in moving 
the vote of thanks to the armed 
forces of the crown "to keep 


Shipping and Agriculture. 


up, in spite of constant danger, 
a fleet of steamers conveying 
to this country clothing and 
the raw materials of industry 
besides necessary food, as well 
as acting as carriers, purveyors, 
and feeders to our Allies." 
"If," as was asserted by an- 
other speaker on the same 
occasion, " the officers and men 
of the Eoyal Navy were para- 
ded, they would insist on the 
officers and men of the Mer- 
cantile Marine taking the right 
of the line. Why ? " he asked, 
answering in the same breath, 
" because they feed them. They 
enable the Army and Navy to 
fight." Thus spoke a distin- 
guished admiral of to-day in 
generous recognition, be it 
noted, of services rendered vital 
to Great Britain by the adop- 
tion, strangely enough, of a 
policy first suggested to an 
English Parliament by a sea- 
man of world renown more 
than three centuries ago. And, 
extraordinary as it may appear, 
the internal condition of Eng- 
land, which then made such a 
proposition appear reasonable, 
was much the same as that of 
Great Britain at the beginning 
of the present terrible war : in 
both ages husbandry had been 
allowed to fall into decay. 

It is cheering to country 
dwellers to see in our daily 
papers the opinion of one of 
the greatest of Victorian 
statesmen "that the nation 
which neglects its agriculture 
is bound to decay" quoted 
once more by politicians with 
respect in place of derision, for 
it is to be hoped that con- 
fession of political blunders 
must inevitably lead to per- 

manent amendment. This one 
great difference ^exists, ^how- 
ever, between the late cruel 
blows which have now brought 
agriculture to her knees, and 
those which in Tudor times 
robbed her of her productive 
powers. To-day a political 
creed is to blame; but then 
the neglect of husbandry lay 
in economic conditions which 
no laws, good or bad, had the 
power to modify to any great 
degree, conditions which may 
be summarised as lack of 
labour, the decline of the 
landed classes, and the increas- 
ing value of wool. " Covetous- 
ness coming down at the head 
of a numerous army of sheep," 
as a fifteenth - century writer 
expressed it, "fell with great 
fury on the populous villages, 
and drove out their ancient 
inhabitants with a mighty 

Then, again, the debasement 
of the coinage, begun by Henry 
VIII. and continued through- 
out the next reign, combined 
with wars and bad seasons, 
had brought about a rise in 
the cost of provisions, akin to 
that we now suffer from ; and 
the increased cost of living, 
aggravated by the system of 
land tenure then in vogue, had 
ruined the smaller country 
gentry the margineers, to 
give them their latest Parlia- 
mentary designation whose 
ultimate fate is once again 
trembling in the balance. 

But to return to Tudor 
times. The landed classes 
then, even "though they left 
not off to enclose still," in con- 
travention of prohibitory stat- 
utes and royal proclamations, 


Shipping and Agriculture. 


had some excuse for their dis- 
obedience. From the system of 
life-leases, they, as now again 
their successors, under the pro- 
visions of the Corn Produc- 
tion Act, were precluded from 
raising agricultural rents, and 
this notwithstanding the great- 
ly increased value of the land. 
Evidently even the rapacious 
King, when enriching himself 
with the spoils of the religious 
houses, had no power to in- 
crease the rents of farms let 
after the then custom. Other- 
wise should we find him, in 
the Act for the Dissolution of 
Monasteries and Priories, per- 
mitting the existing tenants 
of Abbey lands "to have and 
to hold the same for the term 
of their life or lives, so that 
the old rent be reserved." 
Under this land tenure, with 
unelastic incomings and ever- 
expanding expenses, can we 
wonder that the landlord, who 
had shared in none of his 
tenant's profits, should, when 
a lease, granted perhaps by his 
grandfather, chanced to fall 
in, either exact a large fine for 
renewal, or, rather, from want 
of funds to repair farm build- 
ings, let the farm itself to go 
out of cultivation for the more 
profitable feeding of sheep? 
The impoverished state of 
country gentlemen from the 
effect of long leases is thus 
represented in a supplication 
addressed to Henry VIII. in 
1544. "Scarce a worshipful 
man's land," it declares, "which 
in time past was wont to feed 
and maintain twenty or thirty 
tall yeomen, a good plentiful 
household for the relief of 
many poor and needy, and the 

same now is not sufficient 
to maintain the heir of the 
same lands, his wife, her gentle- 
woman, a maid, and two yeo- 
men or lackeys." Bishop 
Hooper, writing to Secretary 
Cecil in 1551, seven years after 
this Supplication was presented, 
complains that "the price of 
meat has become immense, be- 
cause cattle are no longer bred, 
but only sheep, and they not 
brought to market, but to bear 
wool and profit only to their 
masters. The body of a calf," 
he continues, " is in the market 
for fourteen shillings, and two 
muttons for nine shillings and 
fourpenoe." Twenty years be- 
fore, " a great veal had been but 
4s. 8d., and a fat mutton cost 
but 2s. lOd." In vain the legis- 
lature endeavoured, even as to- 
day, to put down the price of 
meat by commanding London 
butchers to sell beef and veal 
for no more than a penny 
farthing the pound for the 
best parts, and the neck and 
legs for three farthings; gone 
for ever were those happy days, 
then not far distant, when a 
clear income of five pounds was 
reckoned a good living for a 
yeoman or parish priest the 
coin representing that sum 
having in the reign of Edward 
VI. less than half its ancient 
powers of purchase. To take, 
for instance, merely one silver 
coin. The test on or tester 
had been originally issued by 
Henry VIII. for twelvepence; 
but, a few years later, to bring 
a fraudulent gain to the Ex- 
chequer, it was debased by him 
with copper, then called brass, 
so as to be worth no more than 
sixpence. " Testons," jeered the 


Shipping and Agriculture. 


oommon people, "are gone to 
Oxford to study at Brazen 

It is for financiers to explain 
why it is that our present 
paper money, though of tke 
same face value as the ooin 
it represents, possesses far less 
of its purchasing power. We, 
who now feel the effects un- 
witting of remoter financial 
causes, blame not, as the Food 
Controller bids us, "the ex- 
pansion of credit and inflation 
of the currency," but the more 
tangible machinations of the 
profiteer and middleman. "I 
have not," said Lord Khondda, 
when propounding measures 
now in operation for control 
of bread and flour, " been able 
to obtain a satisfactory defini- 
tion of the term profiteering, 
or to determine in what degree 
it is responsible for the present 
high range of prices." To pre- 
vent the undefinable, however, 
the price of British wheat had, 
he proceeded to assure us, been 
fixed, and to stop profiteering 
and unnecessary intertrading 
by middlemen, millers were 
being encouraged to buy direct 
from the farmer ; and moreover, 
where the services of a mer- 
chant were necessary for 
proper distribution, the profit 
on each transaction was limited 
to not more than one shilling 
the quarter. 

Writers of great authority in 
the eighteenth and nineteenth 
centuries, Adam Smith at their 
head, declared that the offence 
of profiteering or, to give it 
its then title, forestalling ex- 
isted only in the imagination 
of an ignorant populace. But, 
however that may be, through- 

out England's history strict 
laws against it were made by 
the kings and Parliaments of 
every age. 

For example, a statute of 
the second Edward, enacted in 
1324, decreed that no fore- 
staller should be suffered to 
dwell in a town " which for 
greediness of his private gain 
doth prevent others in buying 
grain, fish, herring, or any other 
thing which is to be sold 
coming by land or water, op- 
pressing the poor, and deceiv- 
ing the rich, which carrieth 
away such things intending 
to sell them more dear : The 
which cometh to Merchant 
Strangers that bring mer- 
chandise, offering them to 
buy, and informing them that 
their goods might be dearer 
sold than they intended to 
sell, and a whole town or a 
country is deceived by such 
craft and subtlety. He that 
is convict thereof, the first 
time shall be amerced, and 
shall lose the thing so bought, 
and that according to the 
custom and ordinance of the 
town : He that is convict the 
second time shall have judge- 
ment of the pillory : and the 
third time he shall be im- 
prisoned and make fine : The 
fourth time he shall abjure 
the town. And this manner 
of judgement shall be given 
upon all manner of fore- 
stallers, and likewise upon 
they that have given them 
council, help or favour." 

There is no ambiguity 
about this statutory defini- 
tion of forestalling, although 
by the time of Edward VI. 
kindred offences had also to 


Shipping and Agriculture. 


be, if possible, prevented ; and 
so another law "against re- 
grators, forestallers, and in- 
grossers" was made and pro- 

Now, strangely enough, the 
edict of 1552 points out first, 
just as did Lord Bhondda in 
1917, the indefiniteness of the 
crime, but then proceeds, which 
he did not, to set forth the dis- 
tinguishing marks by which it 
might best be recognised. 

"Albeit," declares the pre- 
amble, "divers good statutes 
heretofore have been made 
against forestallers of mer- 
chandise and victual, yet for 
that good laws against re- 
grators and ingrossers have 
not been heretofore sufficiently 
made and provided, and that 
also for that it hath not been 
perfectly known what person 
should be taken for a re- 
grator and ingrosser, the said 
statutes have not taken good 
effect according to the minds 
of the makers thereof. There- 
fore be it enacted by the King 
our Sovereign Lord, with the 
assent of the Lords spiritual 
and temporal and by the 
Commons of the present Par- 
liament assembled, that what- 
soever person shall buy or 
cause to be bought any mer- 
chandise, victual, or any other 
thing coming by land or water 
to any market or fair to be 
sold in the same, or coming 
to any port, city, creek, or 
rode, of this realm or Wales, 
to be sold, or making any 
promise, contract or bargain 
for the buying or having of 
the same, or any part thereof, 
coming as aforesaid, or by 
word or message dissuading 

persons from bringing mer- 
chandise to be sold as afore- 
said, shall be deemed taken 
and adjudged a forestaller." 

The statute then proceeds 
to enumerate the merchandise 
which it was unlawful to 
regrate, forestall, or ingross; 
and so comprehensive is the 
list that, had not a special 
clause allowed butchers, fish- 
mongers, maltsters, and poul- 
terers to regrate the provisions 
of "their own trade or mys- 
tery," a summary stop must 
have been put to all sale and 
barter of provisions through- 
out the kingdom. Corn, wine, 
fish, butter, cheese, tallow, 
sheep, lambs, calves, swine, 
pigs, capons, hens, chickens, 
pigeons, conies, together with 
any other dead victual, were 
comprised in it. "And he 
who should buy the same in 
any market or fair and sell 
again in any other market or 
fair holden within four miles 
thereof, shall be accepted, 
taken and reputed a regrator." 
The purchasing of corn grow- 
ing in the field and of the re- 
sale of cattle and sheep sooner 
than five weeks after their 
purchase was placed under the 
head of ingrossing, as also the 
transporting of newly bought 
corn or cattle with the like 
intent, within forty days. In 
almost every particular the 
penalties to be inflicted under 
the statute of 1552 are, strange 
to say, identical with those 
laid down for the punishment 
of like offences in 1324. 

Statutes notwithstanding, to 
ingross corn for the use of the 
City had ever been the privi- 
lege of the Mayor of London. 


Shipping and Agriculture. 


Hence, though the famine was 
sore in the land, and "bread 
so scant that the poor, plain 
people, as in Queen Mary's 
time, might make very much 
of aoorns," London folk were 
ever fat and well -liking. 
Among the many granaries 
of the City, Bridgehouse and 
the Leadenhall were the chief ; 
and for the proper storing 
of one and all the Mayor 
of London was held respon- 
sible. A custom this, after 
the manner of Joseph in 
Egypt, which again in this 
our day might surely be pro- 
fitably practised. An instance 
of its utility is related by 
Stowe concerning one "Boger 
Aohley, Mayor of London," in 
the year 1512, the 3rd of 
Henry VIII. 

When this Mayor, says he, 
"entered into the mayoralty, 
there was not found one hun- 
dred quarters of wheat in all 
the garners of the city, either 
within the liberties or near 
adjoining it ; through the 
which scarcity, when the carts 
from Strat ford-on- Avon came 
laden with bread to the city, 
as they had been accustomed, 
there was such press about 
them, that one man was like 
to destroy another in striving 
to be served for their money. 
But this scarcity did not last 
long; for the Mayor in a 
short time made such pro- 
vision of wheat that the 
bakers both of London and 
Stratford were weary of tak- 
ing it up, and were forced to 
take up more than they would, 
for the rest the Mayor laid 
out the money, and stored it 
up in Leadenhall and other 

garners of the city. This 
Mayor," adds Stowe, revealing 
an aspect of city government 
unhappily now fallen into dis- 
use, "kept the market so well, 
that he would be at the 
Leadenhall by four o'clock in 
the summer's mornings ; and 
from thence to other markets, 
to the great comfort of the 

The Merchants of the Hanse 
League, among their other 
privileges, possessed that of 
storing up the grain they 
imported for forty days, unless 
expressly forbidden by the 
Mayor in time of dearth or 
pestilence. Surely there can 
be nothing that shows the 
decline of tillage during the 
fifteenth and sixteenth cen- 
turies more clearly than the 
laws regulating the import and 
export of grain. Before the 
fifteenth century, England 
being par excellence a grain- 
exporting country, the law, 
though prohibiting " the trans- 
porting of corn to parts beyond 
the seas," without a licence, 
under the price of a noble (six 
shillings and eightpenoe) for a 
quarter of wheat, and three 
shillings a quarter for barley, 
had laid no restraint, other 
than the king's prerogative, 
upon a negligible importation. 
However, by 1462, more wool 
and less corn being then pro- 
duced, we find farmers com- 
plaining of the merchants of 
the Hanse "bringing in such 
an abundance, when corn was 
at such an easy price in this 
realm," that it was ordained 
that as long as wheat and 
barley were below the export 
price no man should bring corn 


Shipping and Agriculture. 


into the kingdom "upon for- 
feiture of one half to the King 
and one half to the seizor 
thereof." Now, at the date of 
this complaint against the 
imports of the Hanse, wheat 
was selling in England for no 
more than fourpenoe a bushel ; 
"all manner of victual was 
great cheap, and great scarcity 
of money ; " so that to prohibit 
both import and export under 
a sum fixed well above the 
usual market price was, as is 
the guarantee given to farmers 
under the present Corn Produc- 
tion Act, to insure the farmer 
against loss by foreign com- 
petition, to prevent corn from 
rising to famine prices, as 
well as to give an impetus to 
tillage in place of pasture, 
surplus grain being then 
quickly absorbed by exporta- 
tion. It follows, therefore, 
that at the time of the making 
of the first of England's Corn- 
laws, even the most rabid of 
Free-traders must have ad- 
mitted their undoubted utility. 
Though as certainly would he 
have girded against them a 
.hundred years later: the iden- 
tical regulations remaining in 
force, in spite of the fact that 
wheat never sold then below 
eight shillings a quarter. By 
the regulations of the fourteen 
hundreds corn production was 
stimulated. By the operation 
of the same law a century after 
it was actually discouraged, ex- 
port of grain being, by the low 
rate fixed, practically forbidden, 
and import allowed before a 
fair market price had been 

During the reigns of the 
boy-king Edward and his sister 
Mary, a great rise took place 

in the importance of merchant 
shipping, on the opening of 
new markets by the discoveries 
of Columbus and his followers. 
In exchange for wool, cloth, 
leather, and tin, merchant 
vessels, never exceeding the 
burden of 150 tons, penetrated 
to the Levant and beyond, 
bringing thence silk, carpets, 
oil, wine, and spices. From 
the coasts of New Guinea the 
explorer Chandler returned 
laden with the precious cargo 
of dates, almonds, and the 
scarce sugar, which then sold 
for eight pence, or, in our pre- 
war money, five shillings and 
fourpenoe a pound. The dis- 
covery and opening to English 
commerce of the port of Arch- 
angel belongs also to Mary's 
short reign, and nothing can 
give a better idea of the 
growth in importance of the 
English Merchant Adventurers 
than Stowe's account of the 
magnificent and expensive re- 
ception accorded by that Com- 
pany to the first of Kussia's 
Ambassadors. Queen Mary 
too, by the advice, it is said, 
of her Spanish husband, gave 
great encouragement to Eng- 
lish trade by raising the low 
custom of but one per cent 
payable by Hanse merchants 
to as much as twenty per cent. 
Other aliens, as a matter of 
course, paid double the customs 
of merchants native born, the 
Hanse exoepted, who had 
gained the privilege of low 
custom in compensation for 
the loss, three hundred years 
previously, of wellnigh all their 
fleet in the service of King 
Henry III. 

In the middle years of the 
sixteenth century a world- 


Shipping and Agriculture. 


shortage of provisions, much 
the same I fancy as that which 
no/w threatens us, troubled the 
rations. Writing in 1550 to 
/ihe English Council, our Am- 
bassador in Paris compares, in 
terms which might be used 
to-day, the food resources of 
France and England. "It is 
a marvellous thing," says he, 
" to see the dearth in this 
country. I assure your Lord- 
ships that all kinds of victuals 
bear double the price of what 
they do in England." 

It was asserted by Mr 
Runciman, speaking in the 
Parliament of 1917 on the 
burning topic of food supply, 
that the chief criminals, in 
the opinion of those who talk 
loosely on profiteering, were 
the shipowners; although, as 
he then proved, the rise in 
freights since the war began 
was barely commensurate with 
war risks. Another instance, 
perhaps, that in every age 
hungry men and women will, 
rightly or wrongly, attribute 
high prices to the carriers as 
well as the vendors of pro- 
visions. Of this we have an 
example. A statute of Philip 
and Mary shows that, how- 
ever innocent the shippers of 
1917 may be in the opinion 
of the present Parliament, 
the merchants and ship- 
owners of 1554 were as as- 
suredly held guilty of the 
worst form of profiteering 
that of exporting provisions 
from dearth-stricken England 
to the still more starving folk 
beyond the seas. 

"Whereas," runs the accus- 
atory preamble of this decree, 
"sundry good estatutes and 

laws hath been made within 
this realm, in the time of the 
Queen's Highness's most noble 
progenitors, that none should 
transport or convey out of this 
realm to any place beyond the 
seas, corn, butter, cheese, or 
any other kind victuals (except 
only for the victualling of the 
town of Callioe, Hames, and 
Guisnes) under divers great 
pains and forfeitures in the 
same contained : That notwith- 
standing many and sundry in- 
satiable persons, seeking their 
own lucre and gain, do daily 
carry and convey innumerable 
quantities of corn, cheese, 
butter, and other victuals, as 
wood, out of this realm, into 
parts beyond the seas. By 
reason whereof corn, victual, 
and wood are grown into a 
wonderful dearth and extreme 
prices, to the great detriment 
of this your Highness's realm, 
and your faithful subjects of 
the same." 

The provisions of the statute 
following upon the above scath- 
ing accusation, though care- 
fully providing condign pun- 
ishment for those smuggling 
food out of the country, not 
merely do not offer encourage- 
ment for home production of 
corn, but by re -enacting the 
ancient export law the lowest 
price for wheat being far above 
the old rate actually stopped 
the husbandman from raising 
corn by making its production 
ruinous. The result of such 
short-sighted policy was shown 
only three years later, when 
the scarce wheat fetched the 
enormous price of 2, 15s. 4d. 
a quarter, the value of 
money then being at least 


Shipping and Agriculture. 


eight times greater than 

The envious words used by 
the Venetian ambassador in 
England, when writing home 
to his Republic during the 
reign of Mary, lend colour to 
the parliamentary accusation 
against merchants and ship- 
owners. They were written, 
too, it should be remembered, 
during a time, in England, of 
almost unprecedented dearth. 
" There are," he declared, 
" many merchants in London 
with 50,000 or 60,000 each 
in ready, the population is 
180,000, and the city is not 
to be surpassed in wealth by 
any in Europe." The riches, 
spoken of with such ad- 
miration, were, though the 
Venetian omitted to mention 
it, for the most part in the 
hands of alien merchants. All 
the financial dealings of the 
kingdom being, to the disgrace 
of England, managed by 
Italians the Longabard mer- 
chants who, until Sir Thomas 
Gresham built the Royal Ex- 
change, transacted business in 
what we now call Lombard 
Street. Then, too, as has been 
already said, the Hanse mer- 
chants, with those of the Staple 
of German and Flemish nation- 
ality, loft but a comparatively 
small part of England's com- 
merce as the share of the 
native-born Merchant Adven- 
turers. Indeed, to encourage 
foreigners was the royal policy, 
for to have a large body of 
wealthy aliens dwelling in the 
realm was, until the advent of 
Elizabeth, necessary in order 
to fill the war-depleted purses 
of England's sovereigns. 

For every fresh loan raised 
to defray the cost of the pres- 
ent world -war, a novel de- 
vice to loosen public purse- 
strings is employed. Now it 
is the "Tank Banks" which 
tour the country to gather 
contributions; later, perhaps, 
airships will take their place 
awaiting inspection for the 
same purpose; unluckily for 
our forebears in the days of old, 
the raising of money for war 
uses had no such interesting 
accompaniments. Subsidies, 
often cruelly collected, replen- 
ished the war- chest or, if an 
obstinate Parliament denied 
such constitutional aid, forced 
" benevolences " took their 
place, the only alternative bor- 
rowing abroad carrying with 
it a too ruinous rate of interest. 

Henry VIII. was one of the 
first of England's monarchs to 
borrow money from his own 
Merchant Adventurers; history, 
however, does not say whether 
he ever repaid it. It is cer- 
tain, though, that to suit his 
own convenience, he lowered 
the legal rate of interest to 
10 per cent. Later the Gov- 
ernment of his son, on religious 
grounds, so they said, abolished 
all rates of legal usury, while 
Mary, though she revived her 
father's law, was obliged to 
suspend it for the purpose of 
raising a war-loan from the 
merchants of London, at the 
exorbitant rate of 12 per 
cent secured on the Crown 
lands. For Mary, to serve her 
husband, had outrun the con- 
stable at the Bourse at Ant- 
werp. Burdened with the vast 
debts of the two preceding 
reigns, Elizabeth at her ao- 


Shipping and Agriculture. 


cession found her exchequer 
still further embarrassed by 
commutation of the fifteenths 
and tenths, the right of the 
Crown, which would have 
otherwise risen with increase 
of wealth and population, to 
the fixed annual sum of 
32,000. "Want of treasure, 
artillery, and force" was her 
unfortunate inheritance, and 
an unsatisfactory peace with 
France the result. "The 
Queen," said a writer of 1559, 
" since her accession has been 
scraping money together on 
all sides, paying nothing and 
giving nothing to her people, 
and spending very little. She 
has paid off large debts which 
Mary contracted at Antwerp." 
The report, too, of Sir Thomas 
Gresham, England's financial 
agent at Antwerp, reveals the 
effect, her honour and credit 
at the Bourse there being, he 
declared, "so augmented that 
no prince had the like." 

By the advice of Sir William 
Cecil, among Elizabeth's econo- 
mic measures, in the opening 
years of her reign, in order, as 
she proclaimed, to abate high 
prices, was the re-coining of the 
coins debased in former reigns. 
For, as the prudent Minister 
averred, "that realm can not 
be rich whose coin is mean and 
base." And this measure, by 
temporarily addiog scarcity of 
money to the existing dearth 
of food, drew the attention of 
Government to the pitiful con- 
dition of artificers and labourers, 
whose wages, fixed in a former 
age, lagged by that time far 
behind the still rising prices. 

Can it be called anything 
less than astounding to find 

that the problems laid before 
a Parliament of 1552 are iden- 
tical in all essentials to those 
grappled with by their succes- 
sors in 1917. To take the 
wages question : 

In 1917 the difficulty of fixing 
a minimum wage in currency 
was pointed out in Parliament, 
the proper test, it was alleged, 
being real wages. As an ex- 
ample, the period of 1895-1899 
was cited, when, though " cur- 
rency wages," said the speaker, 
"were as low as 14s. 6d. a 
week, the agricultural labourer 
was nearly three times as well 
off as with the 25s. of to-day. 
The Government," he declared, 
"would be wise to depend on 
something more stable than a 
currency wage." In 1562 pre- 
cisely the same question was 
discussed, although naturally 
the conditions of the present 
working population are essen- 
tially different from that of 
labourers in the reign of Eliza- 
beth. At the present time, 
Labour with a capital L is 
the virtual master of Great 
Britain, Then, not only had 
labour no voice in Parliament, 
but, villeinage being still some- 
thing more than a legal fiction 
for those whose sole wealth 
was their power to labour, the 
law provided in Biblical wise 
that he who would not work 
neither should he eat. And 
although the celebrated Eliza- 
bethan poor-laws had not then 
been enacted, by former decrees 
of Henry VIII. and Edward 
VI., masters as well as parishes 
were bound, as strictly as in 
feudal days, to provide and 
care for their sick or disabled 
poor. Therefore the provisions 


Shipping and Agriculture. 


of the statute of 1562, which 
gave the adjustment of our- 
renoy wages into the hands of 
looal authorities, possessed safe- 
guards, as does the Act of 
1917, against misuse of author- 
ity for private ends. In 1562 
the existing laws were, it was 
said, impossible to put in force 
for the reason now again with 
us, that " the wages *nd allow- 
ances limited and rated in 
former statutes are in many 
places too small and not 
answerable to this time, 
respecting the advancement of 
prices of all things, so that 
without great grief and burden 
of the poor labourer and hired 
person, the law could not be 
put in good and due execution." 
As to the new statute, it was 
hoped, said the makers thereof, 
that being duly executed it 
" will banish idleness and yield 
unto the hired person, both in 
time of scarcity and plenty, 
a convenient proportion of 
wages." It would be too 
lengthy a process to go 
through all the clauses, inter- 
esting though each one un- 
doubtedly is, of the statute of 
1562. Its provisions, drastic 
to our ideas, contain neverthe- 
less something more than the 
germs of recent legislation, and 
were, it should be remembered, 
the means of saving the agri- 
cultural labourer from starva- 
tion during the wars with 

Under Elizabeth all persons 
with less than forty shillings 
a year from freehold were com- 
pelled to work under pain of 
imprisonment, the service en- 
tered upon was to last a year, 
and no master might "put 

away his servant," nor any 
servant leave his master with- 
out a quarter's notice on either 
side, to be given before two 
witnesses ; and during the pre- 
scribed term the mandate of a 
justice could alone dissolve the 
partnership. This custom, too, 
was in force up to the end of 
the eighteenth century, as wit- 
nesseth a magistrate's book in 
my possession. Then, again, 
the intent of the law of 1562 
being chiefly, as is that of 1917, 
to encourage husbandry, the 
clauses which concern work on 
the land are more rigorous than 
those respecting artificers. All 
men between the ages of thir- 
teen and sixty, other than 
gentlemen born, university 
students, or "apprentices to 
fishermen or sailors using the 
sea," were pressed into the 
service, as well as every unmar- 
ried woman between the age of 
ten and forty. 

Work was begun young in 
those hard days, and daily 
lasted, according to the statute, 
from 5 A.M. in the summer till 
between 7 and 8 P.M., and the 
labourer was bound not to 
depart from it save for break- 
fast, dinner, or drinking. For 
breakfast half an hour was 
allowed. An hour for dinner, 
and another half-hour for drink- 
ing and sleep, "when he is 
allowed to sleep," added the 
statute, "which is from the 
midst of May to the midst of 

In the winter, "from the 
spring of the morning until 
night," the poor labourer toiled 
at his task, absence from it 
entailing, for every hour's ne- 
glect, the deduction of a penny 


Shipping and Agriculture. 


from his hardly earned wage. 
And Parliament, in 1562, fixed 
the amount of that wage after 
much the same manner as that 
settled upon by the Aot of their 
successors in 1917. 

Daring the late debates 
in the House of Lords on 
the establishment of Wages 
Boards, it was pertinently 
asked whether it was pro- 
posed to pay the chairman, 
the secretary, and the labour 
members of such bodies a 
question which remained un- 
answered. The Aot in its 
completed form, unlike its 
prototype in the reign of 
Elizabeth, omitting also to 
mention how much money the 
new officials will be entitled to 
draw from the pockets of the 
long-suffering taxpayer. 

The Elizabethan statesmen 
left nothing to the imagination 
in the setting forth of their 
statute. Yearly within six 
weeks of Easter, the sheriff 
and justices in country dis- 
tricts and the mayors or 
bailiffs of towns were ordered 
to "assemble themselves to- 
gether, calling unto them such 
discreet and grave persons of 
the city, town or county, as 
they shall think meet, and 
confer with them together re- 
specting the plenty or scarcity 
of the times and other circum- 
stances necessary to be con- 
sidered"; and authority was 
given them, "within the limits 
of their commissions, to rate 
and appoint the wages of 
artificers, handyoraft men, 
husbandmen, or any other 
labourers or servants as they 
shall think meet at their dis- 
cretion. By the day, week, 

month, or otherwise. With 
meat and drink or without 
meat and drink. And the 
wages they shall take by the 
great [piece-work]" namely, 
"mowing, reaping, thatching, 
paving, railing, or hedging. 
By the rod, perch, lugge, yard, 
pole, rope, or foot or any other 
reasonable labour." Finally, 
the decision of the assessors 
setting forth the causes and 
considerations thereof was or- 
dered to be sent, engrossed 
on parchment under their 
hands and seals, to the Court 
of Chancery. Whence, if it 
passed muster, a printed pro- 
clamation was to be sent to 
the sheriffs and mayors, who 
were "to cause it to be pro- 
claimed in open market in 
every city and town." 

Unlike the provisions of the 
Act now in force, the statute 
of 1562 provided that the rate 
of wages once fixed by the 
justices for the year might 
not be increased in a given 
district, drastic penalties await- 
ing the employer who, by offer 
of higher pay, decoyed away 
the servant of one poorer than 

The work of justices at their 
Easter meetings, for both 
assessing the wages and ad- 
judicating on all oases arising 
under the forty-eight compli- 
cated clauses of the Aot, was 
rewarded with five daily shil- 
lings, payable out of the fines 
and forfeits which might fall 
due, and that only during the 
actual time they should be en- 
gaged on it. 

On the subject of food 
scarcity, it cannot but be 
of interest to find that the 


Shipping and Agriculture. 


help given to the Huguenots 
under Conde by the occu- 
pation by English troops of 
Havre de Grace, or as it was 
then christened, Newhaven, 
was attended by results near 
akin to those which are now 
in part brought about by the 
supplies we send out to our 
army in France. 

"In the year of our Lord 
1563," records one Richard 
Allhigton, "was such scarcity 
of victuals in London by the 
serving of Newhaven that in 
ye Lent herrings was sold for 
twa a penny when they were 
best oheape either white or red, 
Essex cheese for 6d. ye Ib. and 
barrel butter for 7d. and 8d. 
ye Ib. A bad stockfish for 6d. 
or 8d. and so forth all other 

The great price of fish, butter, 
and cheese, especially in Lent, 
pressed hardly on the people of 
that day, inasmuch as those 
rash persons who would not 
comply with the law command- 
ing the Queen's lieges to eat 
fish, both in Lent and on three 
days of the week besides, 
throughout the year, were 
liable to three months' prison 
or a fine of three pounds. For 
the infirm and sickly a licence 
to eat flesh was procurable, 
provided, if the sick were of a 
noble degree, that the sum of 
twenty-six shillings and eight- 
pence were paid into the parish 
box. A knight's licence brought 
the poor thirteen shillings and 
fourpenoe, and those of lower 
rank six shillings and eight- 
pence. To ensure as much as 
possible the keeping of the fish 
days, churchwardens were given 
authority to oversee the en- 

forced alms for the purchase of 
licences, and a third part of the 
fines of those who transgressed 
by eating meat without licence 
was payable to the parish in 
which the offender dwelt. This 
quaint statute, which provided 
also for the growing of flax and 
hemp for the making of fishing- 
nets, is entitled "Politic con- 
stitutions for the maintenance 
of the Navy," and expressly 
sets forth that "No manner 
of person shall misjudge of the 
intent limiting orders to eat 
fish and to forbear eating of 
iiesb, but that the same is pur- 
posely intended and meant 
politiokly for the increase of 
fishermen and the repairing of 
port towns and navigation, and 
not for any superstition to be 
maintained in the choice of 

Although the Royal Navy, 
as Mr Lloyd George has ex- 
pressed it, is so vital to Britain 
as to be "like one of those 
internal organs essential to 
life, but of the existence of 
which we are unconscious until 
something goes wrong," the 
insignificant fishing craft with 
their complement of daring 
seamen are, as this war has 
shown us, equally indispens- 
able. Without their heroic 
services, both in their separate 
sphere of mine - sweeping as 
well as in escorting and scout- 
ing for the battleships, Eng- 
land, declared the Prime 
Minister in tendering British 
fishermen the thanks of Great 
Britain, must inevitably have 
"been blockaded by a ring of 
deadly machines anchored round 
her shores." 


1918.] 239 

ON P A T R O L. V. 



THE last resort of Kings are we, but the voice of peoples too 

Ask the guns of Valmy Ridge 

Lost at the Beresina Bridge, 

When the Russian guns were roaring death and the Guard was 
charging through. 

Ultima Ratio Regis, we but he who has may hold, 
Se ourantes Dei ourant, 
Hear the gunners that strain and pant, 

As when before the rising gale the Great Armada rolled. 

Guns of fifty sixty tons that roared at Jutland fight, 

Clatter and olang of hoisting shell ; 

See the flame where the salvo fell 
Amidst the flash of German guns against the wall of white. 

The sons of English carronade or Spanish culverin 
The Danish windows shivered and broke 
When over the sea the children spoke, 

And groaning turrets rooked again as we went out and in. 

We have no passions to call our own, we work for serf or lord, 

Load us well and sponge us clean - 

Be your woman a slave or queen 
And we will clear the road for you who hold us by the sword. 

We come into our own again and wake to life anew 
Put your paper and pens away, 
For the whole of the world is ours to-day, 

And it's we who'll do the talking now to smooth the way for you. 

Howitzer gun or Seventy -five, the game is ours to play, 
And hills may quiver and mountains shake, 
But the line in front shall bend or break. 

What is it to us if the world is mad? For we are the Kings to-day. 

240 On Patrol V. [Feb. 






We'll see the lights of England shine, 
Flashing again on the steaming line, 
As out of the dark the long grey hulls come rolling in from sea. 




Mark the gleam of Orfordness, 
Showing a road we used to guess, 
From the Shetland Isles to Dover Cliffs the shaded lane of war. 






Portland Bill and the Needles' Light 
Tompions baok in the guns to-night 
For English lights are meeting French across the Soldiers' Way. 





Lizard along to the Isle of Wight, 
Every lamp was burning bright, 

Northern Lights or Trinity House we had the news from you ! 





KUT had fallen, and it was 
with sad feelings that we 
watched two Turkish bat- 
talions marching in at mid- 
day on April 29, 1916. The 
bitter thought that they should 
have worsted us in the end, to- 
gether with the knowledge of 
the useless sacrifice of life by 
our friends down-stream, was 
present to all; but there was 
also a great feeling of relief 
that the siege was now over, 
and we had not realised until 
this moment how severe the 
strain had been. 

We believed the Turks would 
treat all ranks well, as up to 
that moment they had always 
fought and behaved like gentle- 
men. Khalil Pasha, the Turkish 
General, had said we should be 
treated as his " honoured 
guests," and since at that time 
we had not had much experi- 
ence of Turkish promises, we 
were inclined to think all would 
be well, although we knew the 
Turks themselves were short of 
supplies and had great diffi- 
culty in feeding their troops 

Orders came round telling us 
to destroy everything that 
could be of use to the enemy, 
only a few rifles being kept in 
case of trouble with Arabs in 
the town before the Turks 
arrived. Field - glasses, re- 
volvers, maps, and diaries all 
had to be destroyed and sad- 
dlery burnt. It seemed a crime 
to be sacrificing so much that 
was valuable, but this was 
better than helping the enemy 


in any way. The last works of 
destruction had only just been 
completed when the Turkish 
troops arrived, and great was 
their disgust at finding all the 
guns destroyed, and nothing 
worth taking but a few rifles. 

Some of us had kept our 
swords, thinking that they 
would be returned to us in 
traditional style, only to find 
them collected by the first 
Turkish subaltern or KC.O. 
who set eyes on them. Those 
who were wiser had thrown 
theirs in the river or buried 
them, and we all wished we 
had done the same. Later on 
we heard that the officers' 
swords from Kut had been dis- 
played as an interesting exhibit 
in some museum at Constanti- 

The departure from Kut be- 
gan that evening, one steamer 
taking a full load up to Sham- 
ran, the Turkish base camp, 
some eight miles up-stream. 
We had still to depend on the 
remnants of our own rations 
for that day and the next, but 
fortunately they just sufficed. 

Next day as we moved up 
towards the old Serai, near 
which the steamers were 
moored, we had to pass a palm 
grove which had been occupied 
by some Turkish soldiers. These 
men were systematically looting 
any kit which was being carried 
past, and to which they had 
taken a fancy. A good deal 
was lost in this way. The 
Turkish officers seemed power- 
less to stop it, the culprits 


From Kut to Kastamuni. 

merely walking away until the 
officer had departed. 

The steamer made two or 
three more trips that day, but 
it was announced at noon that 
all those left must march, their 
kit alone going on the steamer. 
How they managed that march 
in a starving condition they 
only know who did it, but when 
the steamer reached Shamran 
on its last trip at midnight 
they had all come in and been 
regaled with Turkish ration 
biscuits. An amusing incident 
occurred during this march. 
An Indian sweeper the hum- 
blest of all regimental followers 
was trudging along behind 
his regiment carrying some of 
the articles of his trade, when 
they passed some Turkish gun- 
pits where there were several 
German officers standing. On 
seeing them the sweeper made 
obeisance with the deepest of 
salaams; whereupon the Ger- 
mans promptly stood to atten- 
tion, olioked their heels and 

During the following days 
we made ourselves as comfort- 
able as possible at Shamran, 
and fortunately got other food 
in addition to the Turkish bis- 
cuits. These biscuits need only 
be once seen or eaten never to 
be forgotten. They are of 
a dark -brown colour, unless 
mouldy, about six inches in 
diameter and an inch thick in 
the centre, and made from a 
very coarse meal which must 
contain anything except wheat. 
They are even harder than the 
hardest of our own army 

The Turks had allowed us to 


bring with us what tents we 
had in Kut, and although we 
had to leave them behind at 
Shamran, they were of the 
greatest comfort to us during 
the week which we spent there. 

A launch arrived from the 
relieving force bringing with it 
barges laden with food, includ- 
ing a number of mess stores 
and gifts. These we eventu- 
ally got possession of, although 
the Turks would not allow them 
to be landed at our camp, but 
took them up-stream some dis- 
tance, where we expected they 
would take a systematic toll of 
everything. Turkish soldiers 
and Arabs brought in dates, a 
few oranges, and a syrup made 
from dates, which they sold at 
excessive prices. 

Bathing was allowed in the 
river, and some enthusiasts who 
still had fishing tackle spent a 
considerable time on the bank, 
but without much success. 

One day, General Townshend 
passed up-stream in a launch 
accompanied by two or three 
of his staff en route to Bagdad. 
All ranks rushed to the bank 
to give him a parting cheer, 
which one felt meant that all 
knew he had done his best for 
us throughout. 

With the end of the siege one 
had expected all the worst 
features of the last few weeks 
to disappear, but the heavy 
mortality from enteritis con- 
tinued at Shamran. It was 
especially heavy amongst the 
British ranks, in many oases 
being aggravated by a too sud- 
denly increased diet, of which 
the Turkish biscuits formed a 
large part. 


From Kut to Kastamuni. 


A few days after our arrival 
it was announced that the men 
would all have to march up, 
while officers would be taken 
up in batches by the steamers. 
The first party to leave con- 
tained the generals and staff, 
and most of the officers from 
British units. The following 
day the men were to march. 
Our doctors insisted on a very 
thorough examination, as a 
large proportion of the men 
were unable to march. The 
Turks would not, however, ao- 
eept the British doctors* deci- 
sions, and reduced the unfit to 
a much smaller number. 

The result was that large 
numbers fell out after the first 
day, and had to be taken on 
board a steamer, the Julnar, 
which was bringing up a num- 
ber of men from the Kut hos- 
pitals whom the Turks con- 
sidered not ill enough to be 
exchanged. We were all con- 
vinced that had it not been for 
German counsels at Constanti- 
nople some arrangement for 
our return on parole to India 
might have been made. 

The men were told to take 
one blanket or greatcoat each, 
as well as their haversacks and 
water-bottles. They had no 
transport whatever, and our 
hearts misgave us as we watched 
them go. The column wound 
slowly; out of the camp with 
many checks, and it was over an 
hour before they were clear; 
all seemed to be carrying big 
loads, and many things must 
have been thrown away or sold 
before they reached Bagdad. 
The Turks were only too anxious 
to buy, when they could not steal 

any clothing, boots, or equip- 
ment, their own clothing and 
equipment being at a very low 
ebb after months of service in 
Mesopotamia, to say nothing of 
the long march down from Asia 
Minor. Many had no boots, 
and were just wearing sandals 
of goat -skin, such as they are 
accustomed to use in the coun- 
try districts of Anatolia. 

When the men had departed 
the camp seemed very forlorn ; 
about 150 British and Indian 
officers were left, while the 
hospital tents contained many 
sick of all ranks. 

Two days later, on May 10, 
the second party of officers left 
on the steamer Khalifa, which 
had on board a few German 
gunners returning to Bagdad 
and a good number of Turk- 
ish officers. The journey took 
three days : on the second day 
we passed the Julnar, the 
steamer which made such a 
gallant effort to run the 
gauntlet into Kut with a 
month's supply of food. She 
was covered with bullet-marks, 
showing through what a severe 
fire she had forced her way. 
Now she was loaded with sick 
from Kut. We waved to those 
on board, but were not near 
enough to speak to them. 

Our steamer used to tie up 
to the bank for a short while 
twice a day, in the morning 
and evening, enabling us to get 
a hurried bathe and a little 
change from the cramped space 
on the deck, where we spent 
the rest of the time. 

The third day we passed 
the battlefield of Ctesiphon, 
full of memories of the victory 


From Kut to Kastamuni. 


which had proved so disas- 
trous six months before. The 
famous Aroh of Ctesiphon, 
built 1400 years ago, stands 
up as a noble landmark over 
the flat desert country, and is 
seen for many miles in all 
directions. We halted for the 
night not far from the Arch, 
and were greeted by the local 
Arabs, who danced and fired 
off ancient rifles and pistols 
in the air in derision at our 
captivity. The women also 
contributed their share by 
making a peculiar kind of 
trilling sound. How we hoped 
they might soon be singing in 
a very different fashion when 
our troops should advance 
again and take Bagdad. 

We reached Bagdad the 
next morning. As we slowly 
paddled up the river we could 
see the Red Crescent flag 
floating from almost every 
good house on the river sides : 
hospitals seemed to be every- 
where, and we realised what 
awful casualties the Believing 
Force had inflicted on the 

For some miles before Bag- 
dad is reached the river is 
fringed with palm groves, 
gardens, and cultivated land. 
When we left Kut the river 
was within a few feet of the 
highest ground, but here the 
banks were very much higher. 

We were landed at the old 
British Residency, and, after a 
little delay, were formed up 
in order of seniority and 
marched off along what ap- 
peared to be the main road. 
It was evidently arranged as 
a triumphal procession to 

impress the inhabitants. At 
length, after a march of two 
miles, passing through the 
covered-in bazaar, where the 
shade was most welcome, we 
emerged on the north side of 
the town, and reached our 
destination at the Cavalry 
Barracks. We had been pro- 
mised furnished quarters, but 
found bare floors and empty 
rooms : the building formed a 
large quadrangle, and was 
empty of all troops when we 
arrived. A little later our 
orderlies and servants appeared 
bringing our kit from the 
steamer. On leaving Sham- 
ran colonels were allowed to 
take two orderlies or Indian 
servants, other officers being 
allowed one each. 

Fortunately, just before we 
left, some money in Turkish 
gold had been sent up by the 
Relieving Force by aeroplane, 
and thus all ranks had a little 

When the second party 
reached Bagdad the first party 
had already departed for 
Mosul, and rumours arose 
about the journey, people say- 
ing at first that we should 
have carriages from the rail- 
head at Samarra, then that 
only donkeys would be avail- 
able, while others thought we 
should be lucky to get any- 

While at the barracks we 
were given a month's pay by 
the Turkish authorities, on 
what proved to be for senior 
officers a very generous scale, 
the greatest mercy being that 
half the amount was paid in 
gold. Had this not been done 


From Kut to Kastamuni. 


we should have been in a truly 
sorry plight on the long jour- 
neys by road across the desert, 
since no Arab would look at 
Turkish notes, and insisted on 
being paid in hard oash. 

At this time the Russian 
force under General Baratoff 
had made a sudden advance 
through the Pusht - i - Kuh 
mountains and reached Khani- 
kin, ninety miles north-east of 
Bagdad ; the Turks were there- 
fore very anxious to get us 
away, while some of the under- 
strappers, evidently thinking 
the Russians would reach 
Bagdad, began to talk in a 
very different strain, pretend- 
ing that they had really been 
pro-British all the time. 

Very few people succeeded 
in getting out of the barracks, 
but two or three officers, duly 
escorted, managed to get a 
gharry, and drove straight to 
the American Consul, who ar- 
ranged to give them money, 
and did everything he could 
for them. He said he expected 
to see many of us, and went on 
to tell them exactly what he 
thought of the campaign up 
to date. He was very pessim- 
istic over the future treatment 
of the British troops, and de- 
clared that had we known 
what would happen to them 
we would have cut our way 
out of Kut at whatever cost. 
We hoped this was exaggera- 
tion, and that things would 
not turn out as badly as he 
expected; but events proved 
only too truly how entirely 
his fears were justified. Hope- 
lessly inadequate rations, no 
transport, no medical arrange- 

ments for the sick who fell 
out, and utter incapability of 
all Turkish authorities, con- 
stitute one of the blackest 
crimes committed during any 

It is only right to add that 
whenever we met German of- 
ficers they did all they could 
to help us, more than one 
saying they considered that 
we and they were civilised 
people in a land of barbarians. 

Two days after reaching 
Bagdad we were paraded in 
the hot sun in the afternoon 
and marched off to the station, 
passing over the bridge of 
boats and through the Shia 
quarter of the city, which lies 
on the right bank of the river. 
We were all only too glad to 
get away from the insanitary 
conditions which are insepar- 
able from all Turkish build- 

After a wait of two hours 
at the station we were packed 
into a train which started about 
six o'clock. A few miles north 
of Bagdad we passed the Great 
Mosque at Kazmain, its golden 
domes and minarets shining in 
the setting sun. The train 
proceeded at a good rate; 
everything in connection with 
the railway was naturally 
German, and of a substantial 
description. The length of 
line then completed to the 
railhead at Samarra was eighty 
miles, passing through slightly 
undulating country the whole 

Most of us were weary, and 
many preferred lying on the 
floor of the corridors or vesti- 
bules at the end of the cars, to 


From Kut to Kastamuni. 


sitting straight up in the 
oramped compartments. We 
made several halts, and it was 
near midnight when we ar- 
rived. Our guards, a few 
gendarmes, seemed to have no 
idea where we were going, or 
what was to be done with us. 
Eventually we were told to 
leave our kit, whioh was to be 
brought along later, and were 
guided down towards the river. 
After walking a mile we found 
ourselves in a small Arab vil- 
lage on the river bank, and 
were conducted into a court- 
yard some forty yards square, 
where we were told we were to 
stay. There was a rough shel- 
ter round three sides, formed 
by brushwood supported on a 
rough wooden framework ; this 
promised a certain amount of 
shade, and we were all glad 
to be in the open air, rather 
than in another barrack build- 
ing. There were no signs of 
any transport fetching our kit, 
so the most enterprising man- 
aged to procure two trolleys, 
and trundled them up to the 
station along a narrow-gauge 
line. The Turks used this line 
for taking stores, ammunition, 
&o., to the railway, from the 
rafts en whioh they were 
floated down from Mosul. By 
dawn nearly all the kit had 
been collected, and we had 
settled down as best we 

There was a certain amount 
of food obtainable from Arab 
vendors, and as we had our 
Indian servants, and a few 
things left from stores received 
at Shamran, we were fairly 
comfortable. As usual, no one 

seemed to know how long we 
were to be there, before our 
journey by road across the 
desert began. Fortunately we 
were not guarded very strictly, 
and were allowed to go outside 
the courtyard, and down to 
the river to bathe ; the current 
here was very strong, and only 
the most powerful swimmers 
could make any headway 
against it, and that only for 
a few yards. 

The town of Samarra was 
on the other bank, and some 
little height above the land on 
our side. It stands back from 
the river, and contains a fine 
mosque with a golden dome. 
The inhabitants cross the river 
in gufahs, the large round 
coracles whioh are used all 
down the Tigris. Owing to 
the current a start always has 
to be made very much higher 
up-stream than the point where 
it is desired to land on the 
other side. 

During the three or four 
days which we spent at 
Samarra, a large quantity of 
German gun-ammunition ar- 
rived by raft from up-stream, 
and was carried by Arabs up 
the bank to the trolleys. These 
rafts carry big loads : they are 
formed by a skeleton frame of 
wood on which is placed brush- 
wood, the frame being sup- 
ported by inflated skins whioh 
are tied to it. On reaching 
the end of a journey the skins 
are deflated and sent back up 
the river to be used again. 
As there are rapids between 
Samarra and Bagdad, it was 
not possible to float the rafts 
right down to Bagdad, and 

From Kut to Kastamuni. 


consequently everything had 
to be transhipped to the rail- 
way. One night some large 
motors arrived, and went on at 
onoe by road towards Bagdad. 
Reports immediately circulated 
that Enver Pasha had arrived, 
but this cannot have been 

We had now learnt who our 
Commandant on the journey 
was to be. He was a Yuzbashi 
or Captain, by name Elmey 
Bey, a little man with an enor- 
mous moustache, which made 
him look very fierce ; he knew 
a very little French, and could 
therefore be approached with- 
out an interpreter. We did 
not really appreciate him until 
later. One morning he escorted 
a few of us over to the town : 
there was nothing to be seen 
except the mosque, and we 
were not allowed to look at 
this even from the gateway, 
much less to enter the court- 

After making a few pur- 
chases, we went into an Arab 
cafe and partook of coffee and 
tea flavoured with citron. 
Elmey Bey would not let us 
pay for anything, and we 
thought it most hospitable of 
him. He said he would accept 
our hospitality another day. 
However, he eventually left 
the cafe without paying any- 
thing, and apparently the pro- 
prietor was really our unwilling 

The town seemed very de- 
serted, many of the inhabitants 
being over on the other side 
selling anything they could to 
the first batch of troops, who 
had reached Samarra that 


morning by rail, and were now 
camped in the open a little 
way above us. We were not 
allowed to go to see them, but 
one or two managed to get 
messages through, and an 
Indian clerk belonging to my 
regiment came to see us, He 
looked thin, and had evidently 
had a hard time. He said that 
on the way to Bagdad the 
guards had flogged men who 
fell out, to see if they were 
really ill, and that conditions 
as regards rations were pretty 
bad generally. None of our 
men, however, had succumbed 
so far, and as many of the 
regiment had been anything 
but fit to start with, we hoped 
they would be able to stand it. 
We gave him a few little things 
in the way of eatables before 
he went back. 

The next day we were told 
we were going to march, and 
the question of transport be- 
came all-important. At first 
the Turks said there would be 
two animals donkeys, mules, 
or ponies to each officer ; this 
seemed much too good to be 
true, and when the time came 
there was barely one animal to 
every officer. These had all 
been forcibly commandeered 
from the villagers round, and 
a good many were taken back 
again on the sly by their 
owners before we could get 
hold of them. Others were 
taken by the gendarmes who 
formed our guard, while several 
were too small to be of use, or 
were hopelessly lame. By the 
time we had got our kit packed 
we had left for riding one 
reasonably large donkey and a 


From Kut to Kastamuni. 

diminutive beast between the 
six officers and seven Indian 
servants in our mess. 

We started at sunset in a 
dust - storm. Fortunately it 
did not last long, and we got 
along without mishap till 
about eleven o'clock, when a 
heavy rainstorm came on. All 
through the night, and especi- 
ally after every halt, we had 
been urged on by our Arab 
escort shouting " Yallah, yal- 
lah!" This really means "O 
God ! " but is used by the 
Arabs for "Get on and hurry 
up." How we came to loathe 
that cry ! About two in the 
morning we reached some 
water; luckily in the dark we 
could not see what we were 
drinking. We must have done 
fifteen to twenty miles, and as 
most of us had not marched 
any distance for months, we 
were only too glad to fall 
asleep for a few hours. At 
dawn we were again on the 
move, having had some trouble 
in finding our own animals 
again; the wise had marked 
theirs with copying pencil, and 
this method was generally re- 
sorted to afterwards. 

We went on with halts of 
a few minutes every hour, and 
got down to the river again 
at midday. It was now pretty 
hot, and we were told we 
should arrive at Tekrit, a 
small Arab town, in one hour. 
Throughout Turkey and Meso- 
potamia distances are meas- 
ured by hours ; a good work- 
ing plan is to add on fifty 
per cent to the average of 
what one is told, as no two 
men will ever say the same; 


if journeying by night it is 
safer to double it. 

That last hour to Tekrit 
was one of the worst we had ; 
actually it was nearer two 
hours. There was a blazing 
sun, and we were very tired. 
The road left the river and 
went up a hill, then down and 
up again. On each rise we 
expected to see the town, but 
it was dreadfully slow in ap- 
pearing. From some distance 
off we were met by Arab 
boys and women selling eggs, 
raisins, sour curds, and ohupat- 
ties. Finally we were taken 
through the place down to the 
river edge, a sort of dirty, 
stony beach, where we were 
told to camp; we had covered 
thirty to thirty-five miles in 
the last nineteen hours, and 
most of us had marched almost 
the whole distance. 

There was a small Arab 
cafe which we were allowed to 
use, but otherwise there was 
no shade. Arabs sauntered 
about our bivouac, and were 
anything but friendly; the 
place was filthy, and we were 
far from feeling cheerful. 

Some of the houses of the 
town stand up on a rocky 
crag above the river. Tekrit 
is a very old place, and at one 
time there was a bridge over 
the river here. It was laid 
waste by the Mongols and the 
people butchered. Before we 
left we were all wishing that 
some such fate might be in 
store for the present inhabit- 

Some of us bathed, but the 
water was very shallow and 
dirty. Arabs could be seen 


From Kut to Kastamuni. 


swimming across the river 
supported on inflated skins, in 
exactly the same way as 
Xenophon has described their 
forefathers doing two thousand 
years ago. 

That afternoon we tried to 
arrange to hire extra animals, 
as we felt that we could never 
get along if the succeeding 
marches were so severe. A 
good many animals were forth- 
coming, mostly mules and large 
donkeys. The usual terms were 
to be one pound in gold, paid 
in advance, and a second on 
arrival at Mosul. The follow- 
ing evening, just before start- 
ing, the owners demanded the 
whole two pounds in advance ; 
there was nothing for it but to 
comply, the reason undoubtedly 
being that the commandant of 
the town and Elmey Bey both 
desired to have their share 
before starting, as otherwise 
they would not see any of it. 
A long delay ensued before we 
got off, and it was getting dark 
before we were clear of the 

The march that night was 
uneventful, and we halted for 
a few hours before dawn near 
the river, continuing our way 
as soon as it got light. We 
passed a few Arab encamp- 
ments formed of dark tents, 
where the nomads come at 
certain seasons to cultivate 
the surrounding land, together 
with their flocks of sheep and 
goats. Not a single house, or 
even mud-hut, was to be seen. 
Our next halt, which we 
reached in the middle of 
the morning, was a serai 
standing by itself alone on a 

low ridge. It was built on 
the usual square pattern, and 
contained a well, which, how- 
ever, was not of very much 
use, as the water was unfit 
for drinking; drinking water 
had all to be carried from the 
river, over a mile away. 

Elmey Bey, or " Phil May," 
as we christened him, had by 
this time shown how anxious 
he was to help us by doing 
nothing at all to assist us 
either in buying provisions or 
keeping prices down. Our 
escort consisted of a few Arab 
gendarmes, and on arrival at 
any village .or encampment, 
they would make the people 
put up their prices, and in- 
sist on taking the difference 
as commission themselves ; 
whenever they could manage 
it they prevented all country 
people from approaching us 
until their own demands had 
been satisfied. 

Phil May rode the whole 
way, and would hurry on and 
be comfortably asleep in his 
camp bed by the time we 
reached the end of the march. 
If worried sufficiently by the 
senior officers, he would occa- 
sionally go to the extent of 
abusing one or more of the 
gendarmes, and administer the 
usual punishment adopted by 
all officers in the Turkish 
army viz., slapping the face 
of the culprit. It says a 
good deal for the discipline 
of the Turkish soldier that 
a sergeant will stand up like 
a lamb and have his face 
smacked by the veriest nin- 
compoop of an officer. 

Leaving the serai again the 


From Kut to Kastamuni. 


following morning, we did a 
short march of some six or 
seven miles only, down to the 
river. This was to be a very 
strenuous day, for that even- 
ing we were to start on the 
long waterless march about 
which we had heard so much. 
It was said to be forty miles 
that we should halt during the 
next day, and not reach water 
till the morning after, thus 
doing two all-night marches. 
Most people had bought goat- 
skins, tied up to hold water, 
from the local Arabs. Most 
of them leaked more or less 
rapidly, the new skins being 
much the worst, and all gave 
the water a very strong 

We got away about 5 P.M., 
and nothing special happened 
till about 11 o'clock, when sud- 
denly the escort became wildly 
excited, and dashed up and 
down ; we were halted and told 
there were hostile Arabs about ; 
the gendarmes fired off a few 
shots into the air, but nothing 
more occurred. All we could 
find to account for the disturb- 
ance was that one officer had 
lost his donkey, which had got 
loose and gone careering off to 
the side of the road. As it 
was a dark night this may 
very likely have alarmed one 
or two of the gendarmes, who 
did not strike us as being men 
of valour. 

Two hours later we halted, 
and, after a sketchy supper, 
soon got to sleep. In the 
morning, instead of remaining 
where we were for the day, as 
we had expected, we had to 
move on once more to the tune 

of "Yallah, yallah." After 
three hours or so we reached 
some low sand - hills, and 
amongst these found an unex- 
pected stream, where we pro- 
ceeded to camp. This stream, 
like so many more in this part 
of the world, was not pure 
water, but contained salts of 
various descriptions, said by 
the Turks to make the water 
bad for drinking. We drank 
steadily from this and other 
similar streams, and luckily 
for the most part felt no ill 

That evening we were again 
upon the road, our destination 
being Shilgat, a small Turkish 
post on the Tigris, which we 
were meeting once more. We 
arrived eventually about mid- 
night after a very wearisome 
march, and after a long wait 
were herded into the courtyard 
of the Turkish fort. When 
the kit had been sorted out we 
were very soon asleep, the 
usual precautions being taken 
to see that boots were hidden 
under one's valise or tied 
up in some way to prevent 
theft. As the Turkish troops 
were always badly off for foot- 
gear, boots were the articles 
most often stolen, and several 
pairs had disappeared in this 
way before we reached our 
journey's end. All were thor- 
oughly tired out, and it had 
been decided that we would 
insist on a rest the following 
day: great was our wrath, 
therefore, to find ourselves 
awakened again at dawn, and 
told we must move at once to 
another place. Phil May came 
in for more abuse, and lost his 


From Kut to Kastamuni. 


temper promptly. We settled 
down eventually in another 
enclosure not far away, where 
we had more room. Later on 
we succeeded in our efforts to 
get a whole day's rest. 

In ancient times Shilgat was 
Assur, the first capital of the 
Assyrian Empire. Archaeolo- 
gists had evidently been at 
work here ; all the foundations 
of the old city had been laid 
bare; it had covered a con- 
siderable area, and had been 
built largely of marble. Situ- 
ated on a high promontory 
overlooking the Tigris and the 
flat plains beyond, the old 
town must have been an im- 
posing sight from all the 
surrounding country. Now 
only the foundations remain, 
and no carving or inscriptions 
are to be seen. 

Next day we were off once 
more across flat, uninteresting 
country, keeping close to the 
river. At the start there was 
considerable delay owing to 
donkeys getting bogged in a 
creek which we had to cross. 
After a midday halt for a 
couple of hours we continued 
our weary way, and finally 
bivouacked for the night on 
the bank of the river. 

The following day's march 
proved one of the most un- 
pleasant of the whole journey. 
After an early start we soon 
reached a Turkish post, where 
a long delay occurred while 
our orderlies drew rations. At 
this place there were small 
bitumen works, these being 
the first signs of any modern 
industry which we had seen 
since leaving Bagdad. A little 

farther on the track rose to 
higher ground, and we left the 
river away on our right. It 
began to get hot towards mid- 
day, and a warm wind got 
up, bringing clouds of dust 
to meet us. At length, in 
the afternoon, we reached a 
Turkish post, where after much 
altercation we were refused an 
entrance, and had to retrace 
our steps to a somewhat sul- 
phurous stream a little way 
back, where we camped for 
the night. 

The country all round at 
this time of year is covered 
with long thin grass, and in 
many places there are quan- 
tities of wild flowers, scarlet 
poppies being very conspicu- 

In order to defeat the 
gendarmes, we had by now 
formed a kind of trade union 
for buying eggs from villagers. 
On approaching each place it 
was decided how much should 
be paid for eggs, these being 
more in demand than any 
other kind of food. In the 
Bagdad district the Persian 
" kron " is the usual unit : a 
kron is equivalent to four- 
pence or two Turkish piastres ; 
farther north the piastre or 
"qrush" is used. The cheapest 
rate we obtained for eggs was 
eight for a piastre, or four 
a penny, whereas when the 
gendarmes had their own 
way we had to pay a penny 
for each. 

Our next march took us to 
Hamamali, a place on the 
river, and containing an old 
bath, as its name implies. 
There are bitumen springs 


From Kut to Kastamuni. 


entering the river here, but 
they are not strong enough 
to render the water unfit 
for drinking. Supplies were 
very plentiful eggs, raisins, 
bread, and dates being the 
most sought after. After a 
few hours' rest and a bathe 
in the river we started off 
again in the evening, looking 
forward to a real rest on 
reaching Mosul the next day. 
We bivouacked beside the 
road, and were moving at an 
early hour next morning. The 
road wound up and down over 
low hills, and some attempt 
had been made to metal the 
surface and build good bridges, 
showing that we were getting 
near to an important place. 
As we reached the top of 
one ridge a full view of the 
Tigris valley burst upon us, 
Mosul lying straight ahead 
of us, while farther to the 
right across the river lay the 
ruins of old Nineveh. In 
the immediate foreground the 
course of the river was marked 
by green cultivated land and 
low woods, while away in 
the distance rose the dark 
mountains of Kurdistan. 

On approaching the town 
more closely one noticed a 
great difference, in the mosques 
as compared with Bagdad. 
Here the minarets were of 
plain stone -work, and were 
not capped by gorgeous golden 
domes or brilliant blue tile- 

We were marched into a 
large building formed on the 
usual Turkish pattern of a 
hollow square, This seemed 
to be chiefly used as a prison. 

We were given three or four 
empty rooms on the upper 
storey. Water was scarce, 
and had to be brought in by 
hand. In other respects the 
building had all the filthy char- 
acteristics inseparable from the 

Soon after arriving we were 
given Bed Crescent post-cards 
to send home, and these turned 
out to be the first news our 
friends in England received 
from us. For food we were 
allowed to go out to restau- 
rants in the town. One of 
these, run by a Frenchman, 
was a great joy to us after 
the scratch meals which we 
had been forced to be content 
with for so long. We had 
covered the 175 miles from 
Samarra to Mosul in just 
under ten days, and had it 
not been for the extra ani- 
mals hired at Tekrit we should 
scarcely have managed this. 
As it was, most people could 
ride for an hour and walk for 
an hour alternately, though 
some were not so fortunate. 

We were promised many 
things in Mosul, amongst others 
that we should be allowed to 
go to bathe in the river. This 
was never allowed in the end, 
although we went in parties to 
the bazaar, where we laid in 
stocks of flour, rice, and raisins 
for the journey on to Kas-el- 
Ain. We were told that very 
few supplies were obtainable 
on the road until we reached 
Nisibin, 120 miles away. 

At Samarra we had left be- 
hind a few officers who had not 
sufficiently recovered from the 
effects of the siege to proceed 


From Kut to Kastamuni. 


at onoe on the road journey. 
At Shilgat we picked up one 
officer left by the first party, 
and left one or two of our own 
servants behind. All these we 
hoped would recover enough to 
come on with the troops or 
subsequent parties of officers. 
At Mosul we found one of our 
doctors left behind by the first 
party, and attending to an 
officer who was down with 

After a rest of two days at 
Mosul we started off on June 
1 for the 200 miles to the 
railhead at Ras-el-Ain. Our 
transport was now composed 
chiefly of carts, and a few extra 
carts were hired by paying in 
advance as before. There was 
the usual uncertainty as to 
how many marches it would 
take us, and how many hours we 
should be on the road the first 
day. We were now going al- 
most due east, and would not 
see our old friend the Tigris 

In response to our complaints 
to the commandant at Mosul 
of the way in which our Arab 
escort had behaved, these men 
were changed for Turkish sol- 
diers, who gave us less trouble. 
Our party was accompanied by 
three magnificent Arab horses, 
which were being taken to Con- 
stantinople for Enver Pasha. 
The Mosul district has been the 
finest horse-breeding country 
in Asia from the earliest times, 
indeed it would be hard to 
imagine a country better suited 
for the purpose than the rolling 
grassy plains stretching away 
on both sides of the river. 

After leaving the Tigris we 

did not see a single tree for a 
hundred miles, and there was 
very little water of any descrip- 
tion. The first night we spent 
by some dirty pools after a 
march of more than 20 miles. 
The carts were not as restful 
as might be imagined, since 
they had no springs, and every 
few minutes the Jehu would 
urge his steeds into a canter to 
catch up distance lost on the 
cart in front, or merely to try 
to get ahead of it. The har- 
ness was largely composed of 
string and rope, which often 
gave way, thus occasioning a 
long rattle for all on board 
before the former place in the 
procession was regained. Some 
of the horses had most appal- 
ling sores: they are evidently 
worked till they drop, and re- 
ceive the harshest treatment 
from the drivers. The boys 
driving our carts were Kurds, 
wild, quick-tempered, and reck- 

The second day brought us 
to a camp beside a stream of 
pure sweet water, a welcome 
change after all the dirty pools 
and salt-laden springs which 
we had experienced. The fol- 
lowing day, after a halt near 
some dirty springs at noon, we 
started on another long water- 
less trek in the late afternoon. 
We went on steadily all night, 
passing a large prairie fire: 
these fires are started to burn 
up the old long grass and make 
way for the fresh growth. 
They extend for miles, and at 
night are a fine sight with 
heavy clouds of smoke hanging 

We halted for two hours 


From Kut to Kastamuni. 


about two in the morning and 
then got under way onoe more. 
About nine o'clock we came to 
a good stream, and towards 
midday reached our camp at 
Demir Kapo. Here there was 
a small river which yielded a 
number of fish. We saw a few 
Germans, and a German wire- 
less section was camped near. 
We bathed in the stream, and 
were very glad to rest for the 
remainder of the day and the 
following morning. 

Two more marches brought 
us to Nisibin. The country 
after leaving Mosul had been 
almost uninhabited, but here 
there were small villages dotted 
about. On getting nearer to 
them we found that they were 
deserted; our guards told us 
they were Armenian villages, 
and that the people had all 
been killed earlier in the war. 
We passed a great many of 
these awful testimonies to the 
barbarity of Turkish politics. 

Away on our right as we 
approached Nisibin could be 
seen Mardin, a city built on a 
rock overlooking the plains, 
and forming, as it were, a look- 
out from the southern fringe 
of the Taurus Mountains. As 
to how far Mardin also was a 
city of the dead it was impos- 
sible to tell. Before the War 
the main Armenian population 
had extended from this district 
over a belt of land running 
north-eastwards up to Erze- 
rum and Van. 

At Nisibin we camped near 
the river, and had a full day's 
rest. This place saw as much 
fighting as any spot in Meso- 
potamia in the old days, having 

been the frontier station be- 
tween Borne and Parthia. 
There are not many relics of 
the past to be seen at the 
present day, but close to our 
bivouac stood four old pillars 
bearing transverse stones which 
had formed part of the Roman 
Forum. They stood out for- 
lornly in a field on high ground, 
and, as might be expected, sup- 
ported a stork's nest. These 
birds often build a new nest on 
the top of one or more old 
ones ; they are very common in 
Mesopotamia, and several were 
seen in Bagdad. 

The following evening saw 
us moving on again, and the 
day after we halted at midday 
at Tel Erman. At this point 
there is a road branching away 
to the north of the route we had 
followed and leading up to 
Diarbekr. The Turks were 
moving a good many troops at 
this time up to the Caucasus 
front through Diarbekr to meet 
the Russian pressure. We 
found a large camel convoy 
just beyond the village ; since 
leaving Mosul we had met no 
troops or convoys destined for 
Bagdad or the Persian front; 
everything for Mesopotamia 
appeared to go down the 
Euphrates on rafts, this being 
the quickest way. 

Tel Erman lived in our 
memories as being the first 
place ?; where we had obtained 
any fruit since leaving Bagdad 
three weeks before. Some 
small cherries and apricots 
were to be had and were eager- 
ly bought up. 

During the evening's march 
we passed a regiment of Turk- 


From Kut to Kastamuni. 


ish cavalry, who for Turks 
seemed to be wonderfully well 
equipped. The average Turk 
never looks happy on a horse, 
but these fellows made a better 
show than usual. As we ap- 
proached the railhead at Bas- 
el-Ain signs of activity in- 
creased, and there were more 
dead horses at the roadside, 
showing that the traffic was 

The last day's march was 
one of the worst; during the 
morning stage the sun was 
hot, there was no breeze, and 
quantities of sand-flies assailed 
us. Towards midday we 
reached a big Turkish camp 
where there were a good many 
men and stores in course of 
transit eastwards. Here we 
rested until late in the after- 
noon, when our final march to 
Bas-el-Ain began. The last 
few miles were accomplished 
at a good pace to a sus- 
tained whistling accompani- 
ment, ranging over most of 
the popular songs of the last 
few years. 

Every one thought that our 
troubles were over, as we were 
now on a railway, and what- 
ever might happen would not 
have to walk any farther. 
These hopes were dispelled a 
few days later, when we heard 
of the two breaks in the line 
across the Taurus Mountains, 
which had not yet been com- 
pleted, thus necessitating two 
more trips by road. 

We bivouacked in the open 
by the station, and early in the 
morning were told to get ready 
at onee to go by the next train. 
An hour later it appeared that 

we were not going till the fol- 
lowing day. By this time we 
had ceased to pay much atten- 
tion to Turkish orders, unless 
we saw that actual prepar- 
ations were being made to 
carry them out* In the after- 
noon the Turks took away all 
Hindu orderlies and servants, 
and informed us that all the 
doctors in our party, except 
one, were to stay here to look 
after the Indian troops on their 
arrival, as the latter were 
going to be put to work on 
continuing the railway farther 
east towards Nisibin. We 
were very sorry for our medi- 
cal friends, since their pros- 
pects looked anything but 
cheerful. Local food supplies 
from the country round seemed 
almost non-existent, and the 
shops in thef village had very 

By the time we reached Bas- 
el-Ain we had completed 200 
miles from Mosul in ten days. 
Most of us had walked half 
the distance, and bumped in 
carts over the other half. We 
had kept tolerably cheerful, 
apart from a few inveterate 
grousers; altogether we had 
survived wonderfully well, and 
had fared infinitely better than 
the troops from Kut, who were 
marching along in our tracks 
a few days behind us. 

From Bas-el-Ain we started 
for Aleppo the next morning, 
the journey taking nearly 
twelve hours. The only in- 
teresting place through which 
we passed was Jerrablus, the 
ancient Carchemish, where the 
line crosses the Euphrates by 
a fine bridge. There was not 


From Kut to Kastamuni. 


much sign of activity on the 
river banks, but before we left 
the station a complete train 
loaded with German motor- 
lorries had arrived, and after 
a few minutes continued its 
way eastwards. 

On reaching Aleppo in the 
evening the orderlies and ser- 
vants were marched off by 
themselves, and after loading 
our kit on to carts we were 
driven away in gharries from 
the station. This seemed to 
be almost the height of luxury, 
and we thought that at last 
we had reached a place where 
we should be really well 
treated. The gharries took 
as to various small hotels, 
but when once inside we were 
not allowed to go out again. 
The Turks said that our 
kit would be delivered at 
once; some people waited up 
hoping for the arrival of their 
valises, but the wiser seized 
what bedding there was ob- 
tainable in the hotel, and 
laying it on a verandah made 
the best of a bad job, and 
went to sleep. 

In the morning we were not 
allowed out to get any food. 
The hotel sharks refused to 
let boys come up with rolls, 
but tried to sell to us them- 
selves at double the prices. 
However, we eventually got 
hold of a boy who threw up 
rolls from the street below to 
our verandah, and thus out- 
witted our enemies. 

All efforts to get out for 
breakfast or to fetch our kit 
proved unavailing, until about 
midday we were allowed to go 
a few yards down the street to 

where our kit had all been 
thrown inside a gateway the 
night before. Fortunately, al- 
though a good many valises 
had evidently been opened, 
very little had been stolen. 

It was not until four o'clock 
in the afternoon that we were 
finally allowed out in parties 
to a restaurant not a hundred 
yards away. While we were 
shut in we had seen Phil May 
in the road and shouted to 
him, but although he could 
see very well what we wanted, 
he never took the trouble to 
come into the hotel, much less 
to help us. 

The next day passed in much 
the same fashion, except that 
we were allowed out at mid- 
day, and no one was sorry 
when we were marched off 
back to the station early the 
following morning. Here we 
met the orderlies, who had 
fared much worse than we 
had. The first night they had 
been packed into a small room 
in some filthy barracks, and 
had suffered severely from the 
verminous pests which flourish 
in every Turkish building. 

A railway journey of a few 
hours brought us to Islahie, 
which was then the railhead 
for the journey over the Anti- 
Taurus range. 

There were some Austrian 
troops in Aleppo, and we now 
began to meet many more 
Germans. Turkish training- 
camps were much in evidence 
at the stations we passed after 
leaving Aleppo, and a good 
deal of material was going 
south on the railway. Most 
of this was going to Egypt to 


From Kut to Rastamuni. 


assist in the attack which 
ended so disastrously for the 

We spent the night at 
Islahie under some rough tent 
shelters. All our clothes had 
been fumigated in a steam 
waggon specially designed for 
the purpose. 

The following morning we 
noticed a crowd of men, 
women, and children moving 
off along the road and look- 
ing very wretched. Our guards 
said that these were Arme- 
nians who had been working 
ou the line, but were being 
taken away to make room 
for our troops, who would 
be set to work in their place ; 
they also added that these 
Armenians would be marched 
off into a waterless spot in 
the hills, and kept there till 
they died. 

We left our camp in the 
evening, travelling the first 
part of the way in carts over 
one of the most bumpy roads 
ever seen. After a halt at the 
foot of the pass we marched 
up, starting at midnight. 
There was a fine moon, and 
the scenery as we climbed 
higher became very grand. 
The road appeared to be only 
lately completed, and was 
probably due to German en- 
ergy. As we neared the 
summit three or four bodies 
were seen lying in the ditch 
beside the road : these were 
evidently some of the Arme- 
nians we had seen starting 
off that morning. After de- 
scending the farther side we 
bivouacked under trees in a 
pretty spot, and on the slope 

opposite saw the Armenians. 
Soon after they left, and we 
did not see anything more of 
them. That evening we con- 
tinued our way downhill, 
meeting several batches of 
sturdy Turkish youths who 
had just been called up and 
were on their way to training 
camps near Aleppo. We were 
descending rapidly, and our 
drivers maintained a headlong 
gallop, with the result that 
two carts were completely 
overturned, but fortunately 
with no ill effects to the 
passengers. We finally biv- 
ouacked not far from the 
railhead, and reached the 
station of Mamoure early the 
following morning. 

The railway journey across 
the plain, through Adana, 
took some six hours, bringing 
us to Kulek Boghaz, a station 
within five miles of Tarsus. 
From this point the road jour- 
ney over the main Taurus 
range began. All supplies 
were being brought over by 
German motor - lorries, and 
everything was being run by 
a German commandant. Dur- 
ing the night several helmets 
were stolen, and probably found 
their way to German soldiers, 
who either had no sun helmets 
or very inferior ones. The 
commandant did his best to 
recover them, but without suc- 
cess. He told us that we 
should leave the next morning 
at 9 o'clock. Punctually to 
the minute a dozen motor- 
lorries rolled up, and we were 
soon speeding along the road 
towards the mountains. The 
road had been cut up dread- 


From Kut to Kastamuni. 


fully by the heavy traffic, so 
that we were jolted about 
almost as badly as we had 
been in the Turkish carts. 
The scenery grew finer as we 
ascended, until half-way we 
reached an open space amongst 
the hills, which the Germans 
had made the headquarters of 
their motor service, and chris- 
tened "Camp Taurus." Here 
were enormous repair tents, 
one for each make of oar, with 
living quarters and offices all 
of a most complete and elabo- 
rate type. After a halt here 
we continued our way, still 
rising slowly until we entered 
the Cilioian Gates, where the 
road just finds room to pass 
through a narrow rocky gorge. 
On the farther side the descent 
begins at once, and is very 
steep in places. The road here 
was being repaired by bands 
of forced labourers, and had a 
much better surface. 

As we neared the railway 
again at Bozanti we noticed 
a few British prisoners. These 
were naval men taken in the 
Dardanelles. They said they 
were being paid, and appar- 
ently had not much to com- 
plain about. We were not 
allowed to stop and speak to 
them, and can only hope they 
have fared better than our 
own troops who were put to 
work shortly afterwards on 
the neighbouring sections of 
the line through the Taurus. 

At Bozanti we were able to 
buy a few stores, some of which 
were British and had been left 
behind at Gallipoli when we 
evacuated the peninsula. With 
only a short wait we were 

packed like sardines into a 
train, and the next stage of 
the journey began. 

The next morning we reached 
Konia, and were told to leave 
the train, but not to take our 
kit out, as the train was stop- 
ping for some time. The lo- 
cal commandant arrived, and 
proved to be the best Turkish 
officer we had met. Under his 
direction we were taken to a 
hospital building, where there 
were two large rooms contain- 
ing rough beds. These were a 
great delight after sleeping on 
the ground for weeks. The 
commandant a little later de- 
cided that we should be allowed 
to remain here until the next 
day, so that we might have a 
rest. If we had relied on Phil 
May our kit would have all 
gone on in the afternoon to 
Constantinople, but luckily we 
just managed to rescue it in 

The greatest delight of 
Konia, from our point of view, 
was a hotel near the station, 
to which we were allowed to 
go for meals. This was run 
by a Frenchwoman, who was 
kindness itself, and could not 
do enough for us. Few of us 
will forget the delights of her 
omelettes or the hot baths in 
a real long bath, the first we 
had seen since leaving India. 

The journey next day was 
more comfortable, as we had 
more room. After spending 
another night in the train, 
we arrived in the morning at 
Afiom Kara Hissar, where a 
good number of Gallipoli pris- 
oners were interned. In the 
evening we reached Eski Che- 


From Kut to Kastamum. 


hir, the junction for the Angora 
line. Here all our Moham- 
medan servants were taken 
from us. We were conducted 
a little way into the town to 
the houses where a number of 
Indian Mohammedan officers, 
who had come along with the 
first party, were living. They 
seemed to have fared pretty 
well, and certainly had very 
good quarters. They were very 
glad to see us, and we anxiously 
inquired after their experiences 
by the way. 

Up to this point we had 
fondly imagined that Angora 
would be the end of our jour- 
ney, but just before starting in 
the evening we were told that 
another ten days by road lay 
in front of us after reaching 
Angora. We were packed 
tight in the train, and rumbled 
on slowly through the night, 
arriving at Angora at eleven 
o'clock next day. Our kit was 
left to be brought in carts, 
while we were marched through 
the town to a big building 
over a mile beyond. This had 
been built as an Agricultural 
College, but latterly used as a 
Military School. Here we 
found the first party of officers, 
whom we had last seen at 
Shamran camp. They seemed 
to have had a much more un- 
pleasant journey than we had ; 
whether it was because they 
had most of the staff officers 
amongst them, or had adopted 
the plan of telling every Turk 
and interpreter exactly what 
they thought of them, certain 
it is that they were not enjoy- 
ing life, and when we arrived 
had not been allowed outside 

the building for two whole 

We had bidden farewell to 
Phil May with great delight at 
Eski Chehir, and had since 
then been in charge of a much 
pleasanter officer. Thanks to 
his efforts, we succeeded in 
getting permission to stay out 
of doors to cook and to go 
down to a neighbouring stream 
to bathe in the evening. We 
felt that the first party really 
owed us a great debt of grati- 
tude in thus providing them 
with an opportunity of wash- 
ing and getting a little fresh 

All our orderlies had been 
marched off from the station 
to some dirty Turkish barracks 
so that we were entirely de- 
pendent on our own culinary 
efforts. Two days after our 
arrival the first party left in 
carts for Yozgad, a distance of 
a hundred miles due east on 
the road to Sivas and Erzerum. 
We remained for a week, being 
only allowed to go into the 
town once to make purchases. 

The journey to Kastamuni 
began under the best condi- 
tions. The weather was per- 
fect, and as we were well over 
2000 feet above sea -level the 
sun was never too hot at mid- 
day. Also we had a new com- 
mandant, who did what he 
could to help us. The distance 
in front of us was 140 miles, 
and we expected to take fully 
a week. 

The road led through count- 
less orchards for the first few 
miles, and then on into more 
open country. Cherries and 
small apricots abounded, and 


From Kut to Kaatamuni. 


supplies in general were plen- 
tiful ; a very different state of 
affairs existed a year later, 
when prioes had doubled and 
trebled, and in many oases ad- 
vanced very muoh more. We 
reaohed a small village the first 
evening, and our commandant 
appeared muoh surprised that 
we should prefer to sleep in the 
open rather than in the very 
doubtful shelters attached to 
the local rest-house. 

The following day we reaohed 
Kalejik, a picturesque little 
place with the ruins of an old 
castle perched on a rooky 
pinnacle in the centre of the 
town. Some such ruin seems 
to keep watch over all Turkish 
towns. We had already seen 
similar old forts perched on 
hills at Afiom Kara Hissar 
and Angora. 

Next morning most of our 
carts were taken away, and 
we were given donkeys in- 
stead. A small moke cannot 
keep pace with a cart, and it 
is an open question whether 
riding the animal with a load- 
ing saddle is less fatiguing 
than walking along and driv- 
ing it in front of one. Pro- 
vided all one's kit had been 
put on a cart, the easiest way 
was often to let the moke go 
where it liked, and walk on 
oneself without it. 

Two days from Kalejik 
brought us to Changri, a 
prettily situated little place, 
which came suddenly into view 
as we rounded a bend in the 
road, after traversing a very 
desolate and uninteresting 
stretch of country all day. 
We bivouacked under some 

trees by a stream, which, hew- 
ever, was not fit to drink from. 
The local commandant and 
Town Council paid us a visit. 
We were allowed to visit the 
bazaar, and generally made 
ourselves comfortable. 

In the morning we were 
given more carts again, muoh 
to our delight, and continued 
our way northward. The road 
now began to cross some high 
ridges. On one of these we 
passed a police post, and a 
halt was made while our com- 
mandant stalked a few sitting 
pigeons with his shot-gun, 
eventually securing one after 
a great deal of trouble. Be- 
yond sand - grouse, between 
Bagdad and Mosul we had 
seen very little game of any 
sort since we left Kut. 

We camped by a stream 
after a very steep and bumpy 
descent from a high ridge. It 
is extraordinary what treat- 
ment the light Turkish trans- 
port carts can stand without 
anything giving way. 

Our next march led us 
up a very long ascent, and 
proved the most enjoyable 
day of our whole journey. 
After ascending some dis- 
tance the road entered pine 
woods, and reminded us very 
strongly of roads near different 
hill stations in India. We 
halted at midday very near 
the top of the pass, which must 
be close on 4000 feet, while the 
mountains on either side rise 
to another 2000 feet. The 
views were glorious, and we 
wished it might have been 
possible to stay longer in such 
scenery. By evening we had 


From Kut to Kastamuni. 


dropped down a long distance 
on the other side and were 
nearly out of the woods again 
when we halted for our last 

We were now within ten 
miles of Kastamuni, and by 
eleven o'clock next morning, 
July 5th, were in sight of the 
place. The old castle standing 
on its rooky crest was the first 
sight which greeted us as we 
looked down into the valley 
from the top of the ridge along 
which we had come. The 
town, spreading up and down 
the valley round the base of 
the castle rock, seemed very 
much larger than any Turkish 
town we had seen since leaving 
Aleppo. The valley was green 
with cultivated fields and trees, 
while the hillsides were bare 
and brown. 

We were halted just outside 
the town while a number of 
local gendarmes formed up on 
each side of the road. After 

a long wait we thus progressed 
in state into the town and 
through the bazaar to our 
quarters, which proved to be 
houses from which the former 
Greek inhabitants had been 
ejected. In the end, although 
somewhat crowded, we found 
ourselves each with a bed, 
bedding, and a little other 
furniture. Most of us had 
not slept in a bed for eight 
months or more, apart perhaps 
from a few days in hospital, 
and all we desired at the 
moment was one long rest. 

During the last week, which 
had been by far the pleasant- 
est of the whole trek, we had 
averaged twenty miles a day. 
Our journey altogether had 
been nearly 1700 miles, and 
was probably the longest dis- 
tance across country any 
prisoners of war have had to 
travel to the place of their 

H. C. W. B. 




" To the Master H.M.T. Saratoga. 
" Being in all respects ready 
for sea you will leave your 
anchorage at 2.0 P.M. to- 
day and proceed on your 
vova ge * n execution of 
Admiralty Sailing Orders, 
dated ." 

Thus read the heading of a 
dozen paper-clipped typed in- 
structions handed to Captain 
Dash wood by the Senior Naval 
Transport Officer. 

"Please peruse same, cap- 
tain/' said the S.N.T.O. 

Captain Dashwood strode 
across to the far end of the 
office and settled down to 
"peruse" in a comfortable 
leather-backed chair in front 
of a cheery crackling fire. He 
looked over the pages carefully. 
It was not a pleasant pamphlet 
to contemplate indeed the 
scare headlines of a Yankee 
shocker would have faded to 
insignificance before it. 

He was warned of the 
activity of hostile submarines, 
the dangers of freely strewn 
mines, the possibility of inter- 
views from enemy raiders, and 
the chances of barging into 
lurking derelicts. He knew 
much of this already, and the 
cold, blue - typed statements 
added no consolation. He gazed 
into the fire reflectively : " And 
over and above this lot," he 
mused, " ships tear all over the 
ocean at full speed without 
lights and " a plaintive hooter 

suddenly sounded from the 
grey misty channel "fog, eh, 
by Jove?" he said. 

Captain Dashwood rose from 
his chair and crossed the room. 
" That's a very unattractive 
yarn, sir," he said, returning 
the papers. 

"Yes, not much of a show is 
it?" the N.T.O. replied as he 
stuffed the orders into an en- 
velope and applied a match to a 
sealing-wax stick. 

" Gun all right ? " he asked, 
pressing down the official seal. 
" Oh yes, sir," said the cap- 
tain ; " I watch that she's our 
best pal nowadays." 

"Well, good-bye, captain," 
said the N.T.O., rising; "get 
under way sharp on time good 

" Thank you, sir, good- 

Captain Dashwood left the 
Transport Office and called at 
the Customs for his war clear- 
ance. He pushed through the 
swing-door of the long room 
and nodded to the chief clerk 
across the counter. 

"You'll find all your papers 
complete now, captain," said 
the clerk, handing him a large 
official envelope. "Cargo of 
munitions, eh, I see?" he 

"Yes, from high explosives 
down to bully-beef," the cap- 
tain answered. 

" Darned unlucky cargo, cap- 
tain,'* commented the clerk 
cheerfully; "the last ship we 


Outward Bound. 


had with munitions was 
torp " 

" Excuse me, but I must be 
off sailing in an hour or two ; 
good-bye," the captain said 

" Good-bye, captain," said 
the clerk, and as he dived 
through the door the clerk 
flung out a parting shot, " You'll 
be all right if you're lucky, 
captain ! " 

Captain Dashwood made his 
way through the slushy docks 
and was pulled off to his ship 
in a coaly waterman's boat. 
After a scrambled meal, he got 
into his hard-weather gear a 
dilapidated uniform overcoat, 
Wellington boots, and an old 
felt hat and mounted the 

Being in all respects ready, 
the anchor was hove up. The 
telegraphed orders clanged in 
the engine-room, the replies 
jingled on the bridge, and the 
Saratoga, gradually gathering 
way, was off " Outward 

A low-lying cruiser lay at 
anchor close to the harbour 
entrance, and as the transport 
swung round the bend towards 
her a string of bunting flut- 
tered up to her signal yard. 

"Here, Chapman," said the 
captain to the second oflioer 
" signal from the man-of-war ; 
look it up smartly." 

As they drew closer they re- 
cognised her. She had escorted 
them safely into port three 
weeks earlier with the last con- 
voy of troop-ships. Captain 
Dashwood fooussed his glasses 
on to the cruiser. Her captain 
was standing on the quarter- 
deck with his fox-terrier in his 
arms. He raised his cap and 
waved as the Saratoga passed. 

" * Safe voyage good luck ! ' 
is the signal, sir," called out the 
second officer. 

" All right ; run up Thanks ' 
quickly," said the captain. 

Captain Dashwood waved 
his old felt hat, and, simul- 
taneously, several arms and 
caps waved along the cruiser's 

" Jolly nice of them, that is," 
remarked the captain as he 
took a last glance round at the 
little man-of-war. " They un- 
derstand what we're up against 
anyhow," he observed ; " dear 
old things!" 

The Saratoga left the snug 
security of the harbour and 
steamed out into a gloomy, 
cheerless sea. 


The morning mists had mittently, rendered navigation 
given place to passing squalls both arduous and anxious, 
of snow, which drove before a Look-outs were doubled, and 
biting easterly breeze. Fol- the muffled -up gun's crew 
lowing his instructions, the exposed to the wintry blasts 
captain groped his way along -strode to and fro at their 
the shore as closely as possible, post, watchful and ready. 
The driving snow completely In a little while a mine- 
blotting out the land inter- sweeper hove in sight through 


Outward Bound. 


a squall. She blew a shrill 
blast on her syren to attract 
attention. Dusk was creeping 
over the dismal ocean, and her 
semaphore message was read 
with difficulty. 

"Keep a little farther off 

shore mines off R Head," 

was twice signalled over. 

"Cheerful sort of person 
that," observed Captain Dash- 
wood. " All right make 
'Thanks,' Chapman," and he 
promptly ordered the helms- 
man to "Starboard two 

The captain's thoughts wan- 
dered back instinctively to the 
comfortable arm-chair and the 
blazing fire in the Transport 
Office. "Who wouldn't sell 
a farm and go to sea, eh ? " 
he mused. 

Night closed down bitter, 
dank, and desolate. They 
were not in an enviable posi- 
tion. The ship was making 
13 knots to strike a mine 
would mean disaster. To 
strike it when half - loaded 
with high explosives would 
convert them instantaneously 
into angels. 

It was too dark to see the 
land, but they passed the 
mined area without ending 
their earthly (or seafaring) 
course ! They then stood 
across an open stretch of 
water, and, the snow having 
ceased, the Saratoga was 
headed for a narrow channel 
between the mainland and a 
eluster of outstanding rocky 
dangers. At midnight a grate- 
ful little " blinking - billy " 
light showed up ahead, be- 
yond which could be seen the 
looming lights from some dis- 

tant town. Captain Dash- 
wood breathed a little more 
freely, and, leaning against 
the bridge telegraph, thor- 
oughly enjoyed a steaming 
mug of coffee. With his keen 
eyes always n the alert, he 
peered into darkness ahead. 
The ship was now half-way 
through the narrow passage. 

Was it the strain that was 
telling on his eyes, or was the 
night, for some unaccountable 
reason, growing darker ahead, 
he wondered ? He pinched 
himself to make sure that he 
was quite awake. He was 
perfectly conscious, yet some- 

The captain became sud- 
denly rigid, the cup fell out of 
his hand, clattered, and broke 
at his feet. He yelled out 
hoarsely " Hard a-port ! " and 
stared wildly ahead as though 
hypnotised. The second officer 
rushed over to the helmsman 
and saw the wheel swung over 
correctly : had there been a 
moment's hesitation, or the 
helm moved the wrong way 
the Saratoga would have 
smashed into the steamer she 
was overhauling. It was a 
narrow call. 

" Steady ! " shouted the cap- 
tain "course again!" The 
Saratoga swerved back on her 
course, and almost grazed 
alongside a huge lightless bulk 
of a steamer, about the same 
size as herself. They could 
hear the wheeze of her engines 
as they passed. 

" Get a man to clear up the 
' wreck ' about my feet, Chap- 
man," remarked the captain 
calmly. He leaned resignedly 
over the bridge rail: "Can't 


Outward Bound. 


say I fancy this lights out 
game muoh ! " he muttered. 

The passage was soon 
cleared, and they steamed into 
another stretoh of compara- 
tively open water. The leaden, 
overcast sky now showed signs 
of thinning a little, at which 
the captain sighed with relief. 
Then he felt something touch 
his arm, and turned round 
with a start. 

" That you, sir ? " said a voice 
at his elbow. 

"Yes what is it?" 

"Vivian, sir ... just got 
the warnings, . . . there's a 
derelict reported, and three or 
four submarines." 

"Oh, all right, Sparks- 
thank you/' said the captain, 
taking the maroonigram from 
him. "Keep a constant * list- 
en-in' now, you know." 

"Aye, aye, sir, I'm there all 
the time," said the operator, 
who forthwith slipped down 
the ladder and returned to his 
house of mystery. 

"Keep your eyes skinned, 
Chapman," warned the cap- 
tain; "don't let them up from 
ahead there for a second." 

He glanced into the binnacle 
and, satisfied that the course 
was correct, he slipped into the 
chart-house. He read over the 
wireless warnings anxiously. 

" Derelict schooner danger- 
ous to navigation, reported 
3 P.M., eight miles S.S.W. off 

P Lightship." He laid the 

parallel rulers to the bearing 
on the chart and pricked off 
the distance. Hound the spot 
he pencilled a small circle, and 
labelled it "D." "Pretty rot- 
ten, that," he said to himself; 
"we'll be exactly over that 

dashed place on our next 
course, . . . still," he re- 
flected, "the tide must have 
pushed it about some in twelve 
hours. ... I think we can 
count that feller 'out.'" 

He ticked it off. "Now for 
the submarine swine," he said. 

He marked each one off with 
an "X," and they made an 
awkward-looking gauntlet to 
be run through. "And these 
are only the reported ones," he 
soliloquised. "No doubt more 
of the blighters are dodging 

There was a knock at the 
chart-house door. The captain 
switched off the light and 
called out: "All clear come 
in!" The wireless operator 
popped into the room and 
closed the door after him. 

" What's up now ? " the cap- 
tain asked, turning on the light 

"Signal of distress, sir," 
said Sparks breathlessly ; 
". . . steamer Fairholm mak- 
ing 'S.O.S.' . . . struck a 
mine ! " 

The captain quickly read the 
pathetic appeal " Mined 4 

miles S.E. of E Head, 

sinkiog fast." 

" Whew ! " he ej aoulated. 
"The poor beggars, . . . hard 

He plotted the position on 
the chart. "Good Lord, 
Sparks," he said pensively, as 
he laid the dividers against the 
scale, " we passed a quarter of 
a mile outside the perishing 

They went out on to the 
bridge. " All right ; carry on, 
Sparks," he said, and peered 
again into the darkness. 


Outward Bound. 



"Looks like a flash-light 
showing up a point on the 
starboard bow, sir/' the second 
officer reported a little while 

"Ah, that's P Light- 
ship, then," the captain re- 
plied. "Put it right ahead, 
. . . port ten degrees, there." 

"Port ten degrees, sir," an- 
swered the muffled-up figure at 
the wheel, whose face gleamed 
eerily in the diffused light from 
the binnacle. 

Another lightless steamer 
loomed shortly to the south- 
ward, going on an opposite 
course, and vanished again 
into the night. 

The Saratoga forged ahead 
at high speed and soon rounded 
the Lightship. A feeble eight 
bells (4 A.M.) struck, followed 
by the plaintive drone from 
the look-out man in the crow's 
nest "Orlls We-11!" Cap- 
tain Dashwood stretched him- 
self and yawned. "More by 
good luck than anything else, 
I reckon, me lad," he mumbled 
to himself. 

The man at the wheel greeted 
his relief urbanely, called out 
the course, and mumbled some- 
thing about "'er carrying 
three spokes of starboard 

" S. 86 W., sir," he informed 
the officer of the watch. 

"Aye, aye, S. 86 W.," was 
the reply. 

Another wrapped -up figure 
crossed the bridge and reported 
" Wilkinson on the look-out, 

"Aye, aye," the Seoend an- 

Nelson, the chief officer, then 
appeared on the scene. He 
and the Second conversed in 
undertones under the weather 
bridge dodger. He took over 
the responsibilities of watch 
keeper, and Chapman disap- 
peared below to write up the 

"Good morning, sir," said 
the Second, as he descended 
the ladder. 

"Morning, Chapman," said 
the captain wearily. 

The chief looked into the 
compass, sniffed the morning air, 
and walked over to the captain. 

"Good morning, sir," he 
said; "so far so good, eh?" 

" Yes, it's a bit of a beggar, 
though, . . . there's a blasted 
derelict of a schooner just about 
here, . . . hope we don't push 
into the darned thing," said 
the captain. The chief peered 
through his glasses. " The 
land's showing up fairly dis- 
tinctly now, sir," he said. 

"M'yes; . . . how's that 
light bearing, Nelson?" 

The chief swung the bin- 
nacle top round, and gazed 
over it towards the flashing 
light. "North-east, sir." 

" Bight, thanks, . . . port 
thirty degrees, ... we must 
coast in and out of the bays." 

The helm was swung over, 
and the Saratoga headed in 
towards the land. They skirted 
a mile or two off shore, passed 
the twinkling lights of a small 
fishing village, and swept round 


Outward Bound. 


in the dark smooth water of 
the bay. 

" Keep a sharp look - out, 
Nelson," said the captain. 
" I'll just slip inside and see 
what the next bay looks like." 
He stepped into the chart- 
house and examined the chart 
closely, running the dividers 
carefully over the soundings. 
He was just pricking off the 
distance when the chief officer 
banged violently at the door 
and yelled out excitedly : 
"Come out here, sir, quick!" 
The captain doused the light 
and tumbled out on to the 
bridge. The chief simultane- 
ously telegraphed the alarm 
signal to the gun's crew, and 
shouted sharply: "Starboard 
side, there, sir!" 

The captain rushed across 
the bridge and instinctively 
grasped the binocular glasses 
dangling round his neck. 

"Hard a - starboard !" he 
roared. He stared immovable 
over the side at a long dark 
vessel, flat fore and aft save 
for a protruding hump in its 
middle. It lay parallel to the 
ship's track, and only fifteen 
feet away from her side. The 
Saratoga swung rapidly round 
on her helm. . . . 

"Stand by!" shouted the 
captain to the chief officer, 
whose hand was ready on the 
telegraph lever to give the 
signal to open fire instantly. 

The captain held his breath 
and clenched his teeth, a ter- 
rific explosion being moment- 
arily expected. The Saratoga's 
starboard propeller missed the 
ominous craft by a foot as 
she swerved round, and the 

unwelcome stranger suddenly 
vanished in the gloom. 

" Hard a-port, now ! " ordered 
the captain. "We'll zigzag 
two or three times, Nelson, 
and fool the blighter. . . 
Never mind the telegraph," 
he said. "Send for tke lead- 
ing gunner." 

In a few moments the man 
appeared on the bridge. 

" Did you see that long black 
thing we've just passed ? " 
asked the captain. 

"Yessir," replied the nug- 
gety Fleet Reserve man ; " 'ad 
the gun loaded and trained on 
the objeo' before the telegraph 
'ad stopped a-ringing, sir." 

" What was it ? " the captain 

"Well, in the darkness it's 
'ard to say exac'ly, sir," said 
the little man, scratching his 
head, "but it looked mighty 
like an 'Un U-boat, sir." 

"H'm. ... I thought so 
too," said the captain reflec- 
tively. "Might have been a 
patrol, though, or a deeply 
laden collier. . . . Dashed 
awkward ! " 

"'Tweren't no collier, sir," 
the gunner asserted. 

"All right; stand by again, 
Corking," said the captain. 
"Look out for dawn. . . . 
We can't do anything now." 

"Aye, aye, sir," said the 
gunner, and left the bridge. 

" Jolly knotty problem that," 
mused the captain as he 
dragged a tobacco pouch out 
of his pocket and proceeded 
to fill his pipe. 

"Must have been a sub- 
marine, sir," suggested the 
chief officer. 


Outward Bound. 


"Then I reckon we upset off at the darned thing and 

his morale and gave him the argued about it afterwards," 

shook of his sneaky life," an- he added meditatively; "but 

swered the captain grimly, it was a bit on the sudden 

" Perhaps I should have buzzed side for me." 


The Saratoga continued her 
way along the shore during 
the remaining hours of dark- 
ness. Gradually the eastern 
sky paled and brightened, the 
pall of night broke up into 
clumps of rolling cumulus 
clouds, and the sun, peeping 
over the horizon, shed its ray 
upon the bluey-grey undulating 

Homeward bound, outward 
bound, and crossing vessels 
now showed up in all direc- 
tions, zigzagging along their 
various ways. 

" It's a bit uncanny ! " re- 
marked the captain. " I 
wonder how many vessels we 
pass at night without seeing, 
eh?" He fooussed his glasses 
on a great ocean liner "tack- 
ing" over towards them. 

" Keep her jigging all the 
time, Nelson. I must sit down 
for a spell, or I'll be developing 
varicose veins ! " he said with a 
wan smile. 

Daylight had revealed the 
captain's face, flushed and 
pinched with the cold. His 
unshaven chin showed blue 
and grubby against his white 
cashmere muffler, and his eyes 
were bloodshot and heavy. 

The ship was zigzagged 
monotonously throughout the 
morning now heading in close 
up to the surging breakers, now 

standing out seawards, swing- 
ing to and fro, backwards and 
forwards, at short irregular 

By noon the position had 
been reached from which, ac- 
cording to route instructions, 
the vessel was to leave the 
friendly protection of the shore 
and steer for the open sea. The 
air was clear and crisp, and the 
sun shone brightly across the 
gently heaving sparkling ocean 
ideal conditions for pirates' 

Captain Dash wood, there- 
fore, adopted the policy that it 
was better to be sure than sorry. 

"Hard a-port ! " he shouted 
to the helmsman. The ship 
swung round to an opposite 
course. " Dodge along back 
on our track again to Cape 

J ever there," he said, 

indicating the point to the 
officer of the watch. "We'll 
have a sporting chance of 
being picked up here, any- 
how, should we get pipped," 
he observed. 

After zigzagging about half- 
way over the old ground, a 
patrol-boat suddenly hove in 
sight close round the cape, 
and stood across the bay to- 
wards them. 

"The usual signal's flying, 
sir," said Chapman with a 
telescope to his eye. 


Outward Bound. 


"All right ; hoist our number, 
then," said the captain. 

The little armed oraft 
skimmed over the heaving 
swell, her tiny white ensign 
black now from funnel- 
smoke fluttering proudly 
from her clothes -prop of a 

As she drew up, a man 
waved a couple of flags from 
her gimorack bridge, and in- 
quired the ports of departure 
and destination of the trans- 

This was duly replied to by 

The patrol-boat then edged 
closely alongside, and a raucous- 
voiced person on the bridge 
shouted out authoritatively 
through a megaphone "Why 
are you heading East ? " 

The Saratoga, heading to- 
wards her port of departure, 
no doubt perplexed the sea- 

Captain Dashwood smiled 

oddly and wondered if he was 
breaking any rules of sea 

"Give me the megaphone, 
Chapman," he said. He then 
bawled out with equal dignity 
" Waiting for dark ! " 

The patrol -boat men then 
seemed to hold a sort of council 
of war, and in a few minutes a 
voice bellowed out in a sten- 
torian tone " Carry on ! " 

She then darted off to inter- 
view another drunken-looking 

The Saratoga swung round 
once more near the headland, 
steamed back to her "shove 
off" position, and broke away 
at top speed to the S.W. in 
the rapidly waning day. She 
rolled to the increasing swell 
a heaving lightless ship and, 
beyond arousing the protests 
of a fleet of fishing drifters to 
the height of discordant syren 
wails, she came through the 
night unmolested. 


With approaching day zig- 
zagging became more strenu- 
ous. Captain Dashwood stood 
at his post and repeatedly 
raised his glasses to his tired 
eyes, automatically scanning 
the horizon circle. 

"Keep a very sharp look- 
out all round," he instructed 
the officer of the watch. " I'll 
be handy in here," he said, and 
stepped into the chart-house. 

The long vigil was telling. 
He examined the chart for the 
hundredth time. 

" Well, that's two submarine 

positions passed over, anyhow," 
he muttered to himself. " Not 
through the wood yet, though," 
he added, as he regarded the 
other marked crosses appre- 

He lay back on the settee 
overcome with weariness, and 
promptly dreamt that he 
heard some one calling out 
excitedly. He started to his 
feet and rubbed his eyes. 
"Have a look here, sir," he 
fancied he heard. Was he 
imagining things ? The voice 
was familiar, but it sounded a 


Outward Bound. 


long way off. Instinctively he 
rushed outside. 

"In the water there, sir, 
nearly abeam ! " shouted the 
third officer, directing his 
dazed look. 

Sticking bolt upright, about 
two feet above the surface, was 
a black thing like the top of a 
small galley funnel. 

" Hard a-starboard ! " roared 
the captain, at the same 
time feverishly swinging the 
alarm telegraph handle to and 
fro. The gun's crew "closed 
up" with alacrity and in- 
stantly covered the ominous- 
looking object with their 

The captain pressed his 
glasses to his eyes and anxi- 
ously followed the dark sinister 
thing as the ship swung round 
and brought it astern. His 
tense expression then relaxed 
into a relieved smile. 

" Don't do it again, Walters," 
he said, rebuking the watch 
officer good-humouredly. " Your 
what-you-may-oall-it affair is 
the truck of a floating mast ! " 

" I'm sorry, sir," the third 
officer replied. " But I could 
have sworn it was a " 

" Yes, I understand, Walters 
you never know these times," 
observed the captain. 

That was but the first of 
many false alarms. 

The Saratoga zigzagged 
throughout the whole day 
among a flotsam-strewn ocean, 
comprising casks and cases, 
hatch-gratings and spars, deck- 
houses and water-logged boats, 
bearing at once pathetic and 
stern testimony to the wanton 
ruthlessness, and close prox- 
imity, of undersea pirates. 

The few steamers sighted were 
systematically given a wide 
berth. They were, no doubt, 
friendly, but this was no time 
for idle curiosity. 

After the strain of his con- 
tinuous thirty hours' anxieties 
on "Mount Misery," Captain 
Dash wood fairly revelled "All 
standing " in a " stretch off 
the land " on his cabin settee, 
and enjoyed intermittent dozes 
during the night. 

Dawn broke wet and cheer- 

The captain turned over 
under his cosy rugs and was 
soothed to complacency by the 
drip drip of pattering rain on 
the deck overhead, and the 
sound of gurgling water from 
the scupper pipes. But his 
peace of mind was soon dis- 
turbed by a visit from the 
fagged -looking wireless oper- 

"What's up, Sparks," he 
asked, sitting up and taking 
the maroonigram held out to 

"Just received this, sir no 
source given," said Sparks. 

The captain hastily read the 

" Why, what the deuce " 

he seemed a little puzzled. 

The operator indicated a 
portion of the message. " That's 
the Raider warning sign, isn't 
it, sir?" he said. 

" The dickens it is, Sparks," 
the captain replied. "Lati- 
tude , longitude , steer- 
ing N".W.," he said, reading 
aloud. " Reported yesterday 
afternoon, eh?" 

"Yes, sir," said Sparks. 

"All right; thanks. Keep 
keen on the job yet," the cap- 


Outward Bound. 


tain said, vainly endeavouring 
to stifle a yawn. 

The operator returned to his 
listening-in, and the oaptain 
hurriedly slipped on his gum- 
boots and rain gear and went 
up on to the bridge. 

"Morning, sir," said the chief 

"Morning, Nelson; anything 
in sight ? " 

" Nothing, except vast quan- 
tities of salt and fresh water, 
sir!" replied the chief, pulling 
down the brim of his dripping 

" Suitable conditions for our 
game, though," said the oaptain 
as he stepped into the chart- 

He picked off the position of 

the new danger and marked a 
large "R" on the ohart.l He 
quickly calculated where his 
ship was at that moment and 
looked rather perturbed. He 
went out into the rain. 

" Darned enemy raider here- 
abouts yesterday afternoon," 
he remarked. 

"Awkward coons to meet, 
sir," suggested the chief officer. 

" H'm, yes," mused the cap- 
tain. "Still, the ocean is a 
mighty big place, Nelson, and 
it's one chance to a hundred 
that we'll fall foul of him. Call 
me if you see any smoke at 
all." With which the oaptain 
left the dismal dampness of 
the bridge for the cosy comfort 
of his settee. 


Then followed a succession of 
grateful days and undisturbed 
nights of eternal sea and sky. 
Wireless warnings came in all 
the time, but Captain Dash wood 
consoled himself by clinging to 
his "Ocean is a darned big 
place" philosophy. Still, he 
welcomed the hours of darkness 
when the Saratoga steamed 
boldly through starry tropical 
nights, a black and lightless 
shape. A shrill whistle from 
the speaking-tube over his head 
disturbed the captain's siesta 
one afternoon. He unhooked 
the noisy thing listlessly. 

" Well ? " he drawled sleepily. 

"Steamer's smoke on port 
beam apparently going the 
same way as us, sir," said the 
second officer. 

"All right," the oaptain re- 
plied ; " keep your eye on her." 

The oaptain could see the 
trailing smoke through his open 
scuttle. "A friend, maybe," 
he reflected, " but I prefer be- 
ing unsociable nowadays." 

By sundowu the steamer had 
drawn ahead a point. 

" We ought to lose her dur- 
ing the night," suggested the 
chief officer, taking a final 
compass bearing of the smoke. 

The captain was preparing 
to turn in that night when a 
startling shrill sounded on his 

"Yes, what is it?" he 

"I can't make it out, sir, 
. . . that steamer's well in 
sight heading across our bows," 
said the third officer with some 

The oaptain dropped the 
tube, snatched up his glasses, 


Outward Bound. 


and tore up on to the bridge. 
It was quite true. What did 
it mean? The steamer, show- 
ing no lights, was plainly 
visible in the darkness. 

" Suspicions manoeuvre 

that," commented the oaptain. 
" Here ! " he ordered suddenly. 
" Hard a - port ! . . . I'm 
not taking any chances like 

It was doldrum weather, 
and as the ship swung round 
on her helm, she steamed slap 
into a heavy rain-squall work- 
ing up from the N.E. 

" That's providential good 
luck ! " observed the captain, 
as he peered over the dodger, 

and spat away the rain drips 
streaming down his cheeks to 
his mouth. 

He zigzagged his ship once 
or twice, and then shot round 
in a new direction, taking 
every advantage of conceal- 
ment in the thick misty rain. 
Point by point the Saratoga 
was gradually brought back to 
her course again, and effect- 
ually escaped the stranger's 
mysterious attentions. 

"Good night, Walters," said 
the captain, descending the 
bridge ladder, "keep your eyes 

"Aye, aye, sir, . . . good 


After various vicissitudes 
the Saratoga reached her first 
port unscathed, and discharged 
her supply of munitions for one 
of the far-flung theatres of war. 
A hospital ship turned up un- 
expectedly at that port soon 
afterwards with a miscella- 
neous contingent of battle- 
scarred warriors. A hundred 
of these men were transferred 
to the Saratoga, which in due 
course conveyed them to the 
land of their fathers at the 
very outposts of our glorious 

On a peaceful sunny morn- 
ing the transport steamed into 
the beautiful harbour, with her 
pathetic freight of sick and 
wounded. She ranged along- 
side her berth to the accom- 
paniment of shrill toot- 
ing whistles and cheering 
crowds. Handkerchiefs flut- 
tered distraotingly many 

were raised to tear- bedinrted 

The convalescents lined the 
Saratoga's rails, and cheered in 
their excited abandon. 

"'Ullo, mother!" shouted a 
bronzed-faced trooper with his 
arm in a sling ; " 'Ullo, there 1 " 

"'Ullo, Alf! . . . welcome 
'ome, lad," came faintly from 
the crowd. 

"There 'e is, Cissy! . . . 
Bill! Bill! . . . 'ere we are!" 
cried out a slashing - looking 

"Aye! Florrie! ... I'm 
O.K. now, . . . told yer I'd 
get back to yer some day ! " 
exclaimed a much-bandaged- up 
head in the rigging. 

"That's my girlie and the 
kids standing against the post 
there, sir," yelled a sergeant, 
radiant with happiness, to the 
oaptain up on the bridge. 

"You're a fortunate man, 


Outward Bound. 


sergeant," said the captain 
with a smile. "You deserve 
it all, m'lad, . . . good luok 
to you." 

" Good-bye, sir, if I don't see 
you again," said the sergeant. 
" And thanks for all your kind- 
ness to the boys." 

"Tut, tut!" said the cap- 
tain, swallowing a lump in 
his throat. 

Crutches waved over the 
side; gaunt, pale-faced, khaki- 
clad youths tried to wave; 
. . . women waved, women 
wept, . . . men wept. It was 
a scene of pathetic happi- 
ness. . , . 


Captain Dashwood shifted 
into mufti and strolled up the 
gay, bustling streets. He re- 
ported his arrival to his owners, 
and fixed up certain business 
with the military authorities 
in connection with his next 
reinforcement of troops and 
food cargo for England. He 
then wended his way to the 
General Post Office to tele- 
graph some comforting words 

to his wife. On going up the 
steps he ran into a sportingly- 
attired chap who seemed to be 
in a great hurry. 

"Hello, captain!" he said 
breathlessly " back again ? " 

"Yes," said the captain sim- 
ply. He knew the fellow but 

"You're lookin' well!" re- 
marked the person with the 
field - glasses slung over his 

"Yes, I'm feeling very well, 
thank you," was the curt 

"'Souse me, but I'm in an 
'ell of a rush, old man, . . . 
off to the races, . . . see you 
again ! " he flung out as he 
leapt down the steps. 

He jumped into a taxi, and 
waved back out of the window : 
"Ta, ta!" he shouted. Cap- 
tain Dashwood gazed glumly 
at the taxi as it disappeared 
round the corner. "It's hard 
to believe," he mused, "that 
there are still some people in 
the world who don't yet know 
there's a war on!" 



274 [Feb 


You wrote a pretty hymn of Hate 

That wen the Kaiser's praise, 

Which showed your nasty mental state, 

And made us laugh for days. 

I oan't compete with such as you 

In doggerel of mine, 

But this is certain and it's true, 

You bloody-handed swine 

We do not mouth a song of hate, or talk about you much, 
We do not mention things like you it wouldn't be polite ; 
One doesn't talk in drawing-rooms of Prussian dirt and such, 
We only want to kill you off so roll along and fight. 

For men like you with filthy minds, you leave a nasty taste, 
We oan't forget your triumphs with the girls you met in France. 
By your standards of morality, gorillas would be chaste, 
And you consummate your triumphs with the bayonet and the 

You give us mental pictures ef your officers at play, 

With naked girls a-danoing on the table as you dine, 

With their mothers out to pieces, in the knightly German way, 

In the corners of the guard-room in a pool of blood and wine. 

You had better stay in Germany, and never go abroad, 
For wherever you may wander you will find your fame has gone, 
For you are outcasts from the lists, with rust upon your sword 
The blood of many innocents of children newly born. 

You are bestial men and beastly, and we would not ask you 

To meet our wives and daughters, for we doubt that you are 

clean ; 

You will find your fame in front of you wherever you may roam, 
You who came through burning Belgium with the ladies for a 


1918.] A Hymn of Disgust. 275 

You who love to hear the screaming of a girl beneath the knife, 
In the midst of your oompanions, with their craning, eager necks ; 
When you crown your German mercy, and you take a sobbing 

You are not exactly gentlemen towards the gentle sex. 

With your rapings in the market-place, and slaughter of the 

With your gross and leering conduct, and your utter lack o 


When we note in all your doings such a nasty yellow streak, 
You show surprise at our disgust, and say you're not to blame. 

We don't want any whinings, and we'd sooner wait for peace 
Till you've realised your position, and you know you whine in 


And you stand within a circle of the Cleaner World's Police, 
And we goad you into charging and we clean the world again 

For you should know that never shall you meet us as before, 
That none will take you by the hand or greet you as a friend ; 
So stay with it, and finish it who brought about the War 
And when you've paid for all you've done well, that will be 
the End. 







WHEN William Pitt was 
confronted by the menace of 
Napoleon, certain zealots, with 
Grey at their head, began to 
clamour for universal suffrage 
and annual parliaments. No 
moment could have been worse 
chosen for foolish experiments 
in political doctrine. England 
was threatened with invasion 
and extinction. The rebels in 
Manchester and in Edinburgh, 
in all the great cities of Britain, 
were in treasonable communi- 
cation with Britain's enemies, 
and Pitt adopted the only plan 
possible for a patriotic Minis- 
ter : he refused to be diverted 
from the effective prosecution 
of the war. He was no enemy 
of reform, but he knew well 
that the time was inopportune 
for experiment. "I would 
rather forgo for ever the 
advantages of reform," said 
he, "than risk for a moment 
the existence of the British 

Our present rulers are less 
wisely inspired than was 
William Pitt. We stand in 
greater danger than ever we 
did in the long course of our 
history, and the Government 
has chosen this hazardous hour 
to push through a measure 
which a statesman, who feared 

to vote against it, rightly called 
"catastrophic." So far as we 
know, there was no reason 
whatever at this crisis to break 
in pieces the British Constitu- 
tion. If pressure was put upon 
our Government, it came from 
a small section, which might 
have been firmly faced and 
easily subdued. That the 
measure was passed to give 
votes to the sailors and soldiers 
is a monstrous pretence, since 
the vote was saved for the 
sailors and soldiers, while the 
Bill was in passage, only by 
a resolute minority. Equally 
erroneous is it to assert that 
the Bill is the result of a 
unanimous decision made by 
the Speaker's Conference. In 
the first place, that decision 
was not unanimous ; in the 
second, the Bill, as it has been 
passed, does not embody all the 
recommendations of the Con- 
ference. Even if the Bill were 
innocuous, there is every reason 
why it should not be passed 
now. The House of Commons, 
which has continued its exist- 
ence by its own vote, has no 
other business than to carry on 
the War. Legislation is no 
part of its duty. If representa- 
tive government has any mean- 
ing at all, then the present 


What does " Unanimity " mean ? 


Parliament should refrain re- 
solutely from changing the 
laws or the Constitution of the 
realm. What becomes of the 
"mandate," about which we 
heard so much a few years 
since? What mandate can be 
claimed by a House of Com- 
mons which expired in 1915, 
and which is kept in a state of 
suspended animation by its own 

Nor in these days of stress 
can the Franchise Bill have 
received the stern criticism to 
which it should have been ex- 
posed. Justice requires that 
it should not have been passed 
before it had been duly sub- 
mitted to the country at a 
General Election. It was 
pushed through the House of 
Commons as a piece of the 
"party truce" with little op- 
position. But many members, 
as we all know, abstained from 
opposition because they were 
exhorted in this time of war 
to raise no controversy. There's 
irony for you ! A highly con- 
troversial measure is introduced 
in defiance of the truce, and 
members of Parliament, fiercely 
opposed to it, are persuaded 
to support it, lest the truce, 
already defied, should be in 
peril! And those responsible 
for our undoing have not made 
up their wavering minds even 
about the truce. In the House 
of Commons the truce covers 
every defection from loyalty 
and justice. In the House of 
Lords, Lord Curzon tells us 
that the truce no longer exists, 
that it died a natural death 
with Mr Asquith's coalition. 

But dead or moribund, it has 
served to ensure an ultimate 
revolution, and no doubt it is 
justified in the eyes of our 

When he put in a special 
plea for Women's Suffrage, 
Lord Selborne adduced another 
argument in favour of the 
measure. " Some evidence," 
said he, "had already been 
put before the House as to 
the desire in the country for 
this change. Had there been 
the faintest indication of pro- 
test in the country as a whole ? 
Never in the whole course of 
his political experience had a 
measure been stamped with 
such unanimous national ap- 
proval." What Lord Selborne 
means by this we do not know. 
There has been no open protest 
in the country, because the 
country, more loyal than the 
politicians, has believed that 
the party truce is still worthy 
of respect, and that in time of 
war political protests are in- 
opportune. If the politicians 
had recognised and reverenced 
the loyalty of the country, they 
would have deserved better of 
their compatriots. But when 
Lord Selborne talks loudly 
of "unanimous national ap- 
proval," he surely must have 
forgotten the plain meaning of 
words. Whether the nation 
approves or not nobody knows, 
because the nation has not been 
consulted. That the Govern- 
ment itself is not unanimous 
is very clear. The Lord Chan- 
cellor himself spoke wisely and 
vigorously against the vote for 
women. Lord Peel, to whose 


Musings without Method. 


charge the conduct of the Bill 
in the House of Lords was 
committed, did not east a vote 
either way surely an episode 
which cannot be matched in 
the "political experience" of 
Lord Selborne or of anybody 
else. And lastly, to overtop 
this comedy of contradictions, 
Lord Curzon, having delivered 
a closely -reasoned, unanswer- 
able attack upon the Bill, did 
not raise a finger to hinder 
its passage. He spoke with 
justice about "a vast, incalcul- 
able, and catastrophic change." 
He said that " they were open- 
ing the flood-gates to some- 
thing much more than a tidal 
river they would be opening 
them to a flood which they 
could not stop, which might 
presently overspread this coun- 
try and submerge many land- 
marks." And having said 
this, he went away without 
stirring a finger to stay the 

"Pourquoi suit on la plu- 
ralite? Est-ce a cause qu'ils 
ont plus de raison. Non, mais 
plus de force." These wise 
words of Pascal explain all the 
processes of modern democracy. 
The Government, doing lip- 
service to the reason of the 
majority, fears its strength. 
And so democracy has become 
a kind of blackmail. We were 
told, in the course of the de- 
bate, that any opposition to 
votes for women would split 
the country from top to bottom, 
that the politicians would not 
be responsible for what hap- 
pened, and much more to the 
same purpose. This is the lan- 

guage not of statesmen but of 
the Black Hand. And it is 
always in such terms as these 
that our democrats express 
themselves. The rules of Par- 
liament are laughed to scorn. 
No longer do we hear modest 
appeals, addressed to the mem- 
bers of either House, to vote 
for this measure or that on 
its merits. No longer is it 
justly understood that it is 
still within the competence of 
the Lords to suspend a Bill 
which has passed the Com- 
mons. "Agree to this, or 
take the consequences" that 
is the latest tone of our de- 
bates, and it suggests the 
threat of the miscreant who 
declares that if you don't put 
twenty pounds upon a certain 
stone by Monday next at twelve 
o'clock it will be the worse for 
you. It is humiliating that 
the vaunted " Mother of Parlia- 
ments " should listen tamely to 
such arguments. It warns us 
also that our politicians are con- 
niving at revolution, which is 
the proper sequel of surrender. 
Certain members of the 
Labour Party, for instance, are 
already boasting what they 
will do when they have 
achieved the revolution, which 
they believe is prepared by the 
new Reform Bill. They will 
emulate Kerensky, they tell us, 
and will avoid his mistakes. 
How they propose to avoid his 
mistakes they do not explain, 
and not one of them has the 
sense or the strength to ride 
the storm of revolt. Revolu- 
tions have taken the same 
course of anarchy and plunder 


The Labour Party and Confiscation. 


wherever they have shown 
themselves, and no man of the 
Labour party has ever proved 
the possession of that genius 
for governance which would 
give the lie to the whole his- 
tory of the world. The Labour 
party has before its eyes the 
example of Russia, where the 
revolution "converted itself 
into what, so long as it lasted, 
was hopeless ruin for every- 
body that is to say, into a 
rebellion against all controlling 
persona." Mr Mallock in his 
book, 'The Limits of Pure 
Democracy ' (London : Chap- 
man & Hall), cites some ex- 
amples of the folly and cupidity 
of the Russian revolutionaries 
which should not be without 
their influence upon our own 
vague-headed dreamers, who, 
until Lenin and Trotsky came 
along, believed Kerensky to be 
the greatest of mortal men. 
The first ambition of the Rus- 
sian peasants, we are told, was 
to peg out as many acres as 
each one of them could seize, 
without thinking whether they 
could till them, or whether, 
if they tilled them, they could 
use the produce. In one 
village, says a writer quoted 
by Mr Mallook, the peasants 
were "busy in distributing the 
estate of a local landowner, 
when a free fight ensued, from 
which hardly a man in the 
neighbourhood issued without 
wounds, and in which fifteen 
were killed." Still better as 
an instance of practical social- 
ism is the conduct of a revolu- 
tionary mob, which seized a 
large estate and appointed 

some of their friends to work 
it at three or four times the 
usual wage. "They began 
with paying these wages out 
of the cash discovered at the 
estate office," writes the social- 
ist correspondent quoted by 
Mr Mallook. " When this fund 
was exhausted, they continued 
the payments in question by 
selling the trees and cattle, and 
when this source of revenue 
had run dry likewise (the 
estate being no longer capable 
of yielding anything), they 
actually applied to the expro- 
priated landlord for a cheque 
to pay the wages of men 
now employed as their own 

That our Bolsheviks will 
learn the lessons taught by 
Russia we do not expect. If 
only they can succeed in mak- 
ing a revolution they will 
squander with a lavish hand 
whatever they can seize. 
With all cheerfulness of spirit 
they will kill the goose that 
lays the golden egg, and, 
having consumed whatever 
crops and beasts they can 
find, will grumble that the 
plundered landlord cannot 
make good their deficiencies 
by his cheque-book. The plans 
of reconstruction set forth by 
the Labour party, with the 
sanction of Mr Arthur Hen- 
derson, are at once rapacious 
and futile. They assume that 
all private property must be 
placed at the command of 
those who have had neither 
the thrift nor the skill to 
acquire it. They will tax the 
incomes of the millionaires up 


Musings without Method. 


to sixteen or nineteen shillings 
in the pound, and at the same 
time they will make a capi- 
tal levy chargeable upon all 
property to pay off the 
National Debt. Thus they 
will have their cake and eat 
it ; but they do not explain 
how, when the capital levy 
has been made, they will find 
incomes to tax. Nor do they 
tell us by what means the 
poor wretches who own pro- 
perty will find the money 
wherewith to pay the capital 
levy. Not even millionaires 
keep their millions in stock- 
ings, and if to meet the levy 
all the property in the land 
must be put up for sale at 
once, then the wealth of the 
country will disappear without 
making anybody a penny the 
richer. For since there can 
be no buyers, the sellers will 
find no market. Indeed, the 
policy of Mr Henderson re- 
sembles exactly the policy of 
the Russian revolutionaries, 
who to pay extravagant wages 
sold all the trees and cattle 
on the estate which they had 

After this we are not sur- 
prised to hear that the Sur- 
plus, whatever that may mean, 
is to be spent for the common 
good, and that the railways 
are not to be returned to the 
shareholders. And as the 
shareholders are many of them 
poor spinsters and widows, 
who have nothing else than 
their dividends to live upon, 
they will be permitted to 
starve, we suppose, that the 
sturdy trade unionists may 

have shorter hours and more 
spending money. But of all 
the Labour party's sugges- 
tions none is more grossly im- 
pertinent than that part of 
the imagined Surplus shall be 
spent upon "the promotion of 
music, literature, and fine art, 
which have been under Capi- 
talism so greatly neglected, 
and upon which, so the Labour 
party holds, any real develop- 
ment of civilisation fundament- 
ally depends." We should like 
to discover the humourist who 
sketched this plan. The pic- 
ture of the Labour party, with 
its pocket full of the charges it 
has levied upon capital, faced 
by an empty treasury and 
with no cheques of expro- 
priated landowners to help it, 
solemnly patronising the fine 
arts of music, literature, paint- 
ing and sculpture, is ridiculous 
beyond even the worst excesses 
of the Bolsheviks. The arts 
have not been neglected under 
Capitalism; they do not ask 
the patronage of Labour. 
They demand only to be freed 
from tyranny of every sort, 
and to develop in their own 
way. The orgie of bad books, 
bad pictures, and vile music 
which would be assured by the 
corruption of Labour, makes 
us gasp. We can only regret 
that Spring Onions has left 
us, and congratulate those 
who hope to rule us that the 
pavement artist still lives. 

And in this promise to pat- 
ronise the arts, which it does 
not understand, the Labour 
party convicts itself of hypoc- 
risy as well as of impertinence. 


Mr Henderson's War Aims. 


It oares as little for the arts as 
for the glory of England. It 
has always fought for its own 
hand, without any thought of 
patriotism. Its ingenuity has 
been exhausted in getting better 
terms for itself by insisting 
upon such measures as the 
Trade Disputes Aot, and now 
it oomes forward as the patron 
of art and letters, on condition 
that it may oonsoribe capital 
and lay a greedy hand upon 
the Surplus ! Does it never 
come into the minds of Mr 
Arthur Henderson and his 
friends that to encourage the 
arts is a very difficult and 
delicate enterprise an enter- 
prise which has been essayed 
successfully by a very few men 
of genius? Do these easy- 
going optimists think that, by 
the mere acquisition of millions 
of votes, they will be able to 
achieve a triumph which has 
conferred an immortal fame 
upon great and wise princes ? 
If they do not take unto them- 
selves some sense of proportion, 
then they will certainly outdo 
all the worst excesses of Lenin 
and his Bolsheviks on the day, 
far distant let us hope, when 
they make themselves masters 
of G reat Britain. 

The war aims of Mr Arthur 
Henderson and his friends are 
as futile as his plans of recon- 
struction, and far more mis- 
chievous. Before the dreams 
of the arch-prig, Mr Sidney 
Webb, come true, -Labour has 
many tough battles to fight 
with itself. We are not blind 
to the dangers ahead, and yet 
we do not believe that a policy 

founded upon jealousy of the 
skill and thrift which have 
created comfort will ever pre- 
vail, or that the envious ones, 
miserable themselves, will suc- 
ceed in making all the world 
equally miserable. And the 
vision of Messrs Shaw and 
Granville Barker as the pa- 
trons of the fine arts, which 
have been " neglected under 
capitalism," fills us with joy. 
Here would be a prospect of 
pure comedy if only the hopes 
of Labour were not doomed to 
disappointment. Two solemn 
gentlemen, without a ray of 
humour between them, pom- 
pously spending the money of 
others upon the encouragement 
of painting and poetry, pre- 
sent such a spectacle as the 
world has not seen. They 
would give us, with a smirk, 
municipal poetry and parlia- 
mentary painting. Then would 
come the heyday of charlatans, 
with votes in their pocket, and 
"artists" would be kept in 
idleness, merely for hymning 
how great was Mr R. Mao- 
d on aid, or for decorating the 
town halls of Great Britain 
with his daubed portraits. 
They do not know, these cham- 
pions of the Labour party, 
that art is a shy bird, and 
they think that they may put 
upon its tail the salt of paro- 
chial patronage. 

That, indeed, is the comedy 
or the farce of Mr Henderson's 
pronouncements. The tragedy 
lies, as we have said, in what 
he calls his war aims. These 
aims, if they were reached, 
would mean not war but peace 


Musings without Method, 


peaoe at any price, peace such 
as the Germans pray for on 
their knees, peaoe which would 
enslave England for genera- 
tions. Above all, Mr Hender- 
son desires to aid and comfort 
our enemies. He is desirous 
instantly to offer them all the 
blessings of FreeTrade, to throw 
open our markets to them, 
and to provide them, not for 
profit but on the easiest possible 
terms, with all the raw mate- 
rials which they desire for the 
purpose of preparing a new and 
greater war. As to the Afri- 
can colonies, lest there be any 
dispute, they are to be taken 
out of our hands, if the in- 
effable Mr Henderson has his 
way, and placed under the con- 
trol of " Super-National Au- 
thorities." What a phrase! 
And what a splendid assurance 
the Super-National Authorities 
would give for the permanence 
of national strife! For the 
crimes which Germany has com- 
mitted, for her outrages upon 
law, Mr Henderson cares noth- 
ing. All he wants is to get 
to work again, with all the 
blessings of Free Trade, and he 
does not know that he is merely 
a species of worn-out Cobdenism 
masquerading under the flash 
disguise of emancipated and 
enlightened Labour. 

To what may we attribute 
the pretentious folly of Mr 
Henderson's branch of the 
Labour party ? To a mixture 
of arrogance and ignorance. 
The men who can learn 
nothing even from the Rus- 
sian revolution, who lack al- 
together the tradition of gov- 

ernment, for whom policy is 
sectional greed, are neverthe- 
less sure that they can re- 
construct the world, cure the 
Germans with kindness, and 
revive the arts which they 
pretend, most erroneously, have 
" declined under capitalism." 
So they brag of their benevo- 
lence and of their wisdom. 
With a sort of snobbishness 
they plume themselves upon 
their readiness to forget and 
to forgive the crimes of Ger- 
many. They are not as other 
men are! They propose to 
distribute neither punishment 
nor justice. They will give 
an example to the world of 
forbearance and magnanimity, 
and having set Germany on 
her legs again, having given 
her all the raw materials which 
are necessary for the making 
of munitions, they will strike 
hip and thigh all those of 
their own countrymen who 
dare to disagree with them, 
until Great Britain, sunk in 
Bolshevikism, lies unarmed and 
defenceless at the mercy of the 

That Mr Henderson is a 
danger there can be no doubt. 
With millions of inexperienced 
voters added to the register, 
it is not impossible that he may 
attempt to govern the country. 
His programme is attractive 
enough. Is there any idler 
who can resist the policy of 
peace at any price abroad, and 
plunder, without charge or 
question, at home ? And then 
the assumption of " culture " is 
attractive to the weak-minded. 
To pose as the modern Medici 


The British Workers League. 


will work like fever in the blood 
of those already inflamed with 
vanity. But we may solace 
ourselves with the thought that 
Mr Henderson's triumph will 
not be achieved without a 
struggle. He speaks not for 
Labour, but for the weakest 
section of Labour. In all that 
we have said hitherto, we have 
spoken only of Mr Henderson 
and his clique. We know, and 
we rejoice in the knowledge, 
that there is another Labour 
party, resolutely opposed to 
the silly sophistries and inter- 
national sentimentalities of Mr 
Henderson and his friends. If 
you wish to obliterate the de- 
pressing effect of arrogance 
and ignorance produced by 
the manifestoes of Germany's 
friends, you have but to turn 
to the spirited protest made 
against Mr Henderson and all 
his words by the stronger, wiser 
branch of the Labour party, 
which calls itself the British 
Workers' League. This League, 
of which Mr Hodge is president, 
will have no chaffering with 
Germany. It wishes to brush 
away for ever the malign in- 
fluence of Cobdenism, and to 
protect the workers of England 
in the proper enjoyment of 
their coming prosperity. Above 
all, its war aims are clear and 
clearly expressed. Of Mr Hen- 
derson's declaration the League 
has these eloquent words to 
say : " This declaration is am- 
biguous, equivocal, and self- 
contradictory. Conceived in 
secret diplomacy and intrigue, 
it was born of an unholy 
alliance between Pacifist In- 

dividualism and Cosmopoli- 
tan Syndicalism. It in no 
sense represents the great 
mass of the British manual 
workers." So the League 
analyses the "war aims" of 
the sentimentalists with a piti- 
less lucidity. It points out 
that the sentimentalists, pay- 
ing "lip-service to the cause 
of martyred Belgium, demand 
the frank abandonment of 
every form of Imperialism, 
which is an indictment of 
Great Britain and the Dom- 
inions-beyond-the-Seas; and 
the authors of the statement, 
apparently forgetful of the 
splendid heroism of our Co- 
lonial brothers in defence of 
the common patrimony, sum- 
mon us at the bidding of 
Continental and British Bol- 
sheviks to co - operate with 
them in the task of destroying 
the Empire which countless 
generations of Britons have 
slowly and heroically built up." 
A fair and eloquent pronounce- 
ment, which proves that in 
speech as in thought the Brit- 
ish Workers' League is far 
superior to the Hendersons 
and the Shaws and the 
Webbs and the Barkers, who 
presume to speak for British 

And, with no less sure a 
hand, the writer of the League's 
manifesto sketches what would 
be the consequences of Mr 
Henderson's domination. " If 
these ideas were to be only 
partly realised," says he, " the 
anarchic fate of Russia would 
be the fate of Britain. Their 
promulgation signifies that the 


Musings without Method. 


Labour caucus has been cap- 
tured by the tireless intrigues 
of the Independent Labour 
Party, the sinister sentimen- 
talists of the Union of Demo- 
cratic Control, and a handful 
of British Bolsheviks, inspired 
by a base cosmopolitanism, 
who dream mad dreams of 
barricades and booty." That, 
indeed, is a fair definition of 
the policy of the official Labour 
party barricades and booty; 
and against this policy the 
British Workers' League stern- 
ly sets its face. As Mr Hodge 
has said, "the Socialism of the 
League is to love their country 
first and other countries after- 
wards." And we cannot ex- 
press our love for our country 
better than by protecting it 
commercially and martially 
against the aggression of Ger- 
many. We have for many 
years left the door open, and 
we have not ensured peace. 
Now we must reverse our 
policy in self-defence, and, in 
Mr Hodge's phrase, "sweep 
away the old Cobdenite doc- 
trines." The ill - considered 
philanthropy of Mr Henderson 
will not satisfy those who 
accept the underlying principle 
of the League's programme 
National safety, National pros- 
perity, National development. 
Nor must we, if we are to 
succeed in the task of recon- 
struction, think only of classes 
and parties. "The Nation is 
greater than any section, than 
any interest, than any class. 
As the Nation at war has 
known how to die, so the Nation 
at peace must learn how to 

live." So Bays the Secretary 
ef the Workers' League, and 
there is no patriot who will 
not agree with him. 

Then let us remember that 
there exist in this country two 
parties of labour, each aspiring 
to national influence, and that 
of them one deserves in essen- 
tials the confidence of English- 
men, while the other must be 
watched with unceasing vigi- 
lance, and fought whenever it 
lifts its hand or its voice. Be- 
tween the two there is a whole 
world of thought and ambition. 
Mr Henderson, like the inter- 
national that he is, thicks only 
of sparing the pride and 
strength of Germany. Mr 
Hodge is determined that Eng- 
land shall obtain a decisive 
victory as the only prelude to 
a lasting peace. Mr Hender- 
son is already itching to distri- 
bute among our foes, and with 
a lavish hand, all the raw mate- 
rials which they may need. 
Mr Hodge, remembering that 
we had to buy back the tung- 
sten and wolfram collared by 
the Germans, demands that 
the Empire shall protect its 
own natural wealth. Mr Hen- 
derson longs to hob-a-nob once 
more with his German friends. 
"As a matter of fact," says the 
bluff Mr Hodge, " I am a be- 
liever in Lord Kitchener's 
doctrine of twenty-one years' 
ostracism of Germany after 
the peace." 

The British Labour Move- 
ment, then, and the British 
Workers' League, are not two 
branches of a single party ; 
they are two parties, eternally 


A Villainous Election Cry. 


and essentially irreconcilable. 
Between Mr Henderson's "in- 
tellectual " egoism and the 
patriotism of the League there 
can be and there will be no 
fusion. When the next gen- 
eral election comes, the old 
Tory party, the party of na- 
tional defence and national 
security, cannot hope to exert 
its ancient influence. It has 
been disfranchised by the new 
Bill. The old Liberal party, 
the party of shifty doctrin- 
aires, who thought that talk 
was always of greater import- 
ance than action, will disappear 
into the oblivion which it has 
earned. And the contest will 
be waged between the Labour 
Movement and the Workers' 
League. Who will win should 
not be uncertain. All those 
who put their country above 
their pocket, who do not prefer 
bad morals and sentimental- 
ity before statesmanship, will 
estimate at his proper worth 
the garrulous Mr Henderson. 
"Booty and barricades" will 
seem a villainous election cry, 
we trust, even to the ten 
million unpractised voters who 
have been added to the reg- 
ister \ and we have a good hope 
that our British Bolsheviks will 
be routed at the polls. 

And there is this further 
difference between the Labour 
movement and the Workers' 
League, that while the move- 
ment has been content in the 
pride of its heart to chatter, 
the League has done its best to 
study the needs and aims of 
a national policy. Mr Hender- 
son is persistently immodest. 

He adopts always the boastful 
tone of one who believes that 
he cannot make a mistake. 
Even when he proposes to rob 
all those who are richer than 
himself, he does it with a kind 
of unction, as though he were 
about to confer a vast boon 
upon society. He makes light 
of the responsibility which he 
has wantonly put upon his 
own shoulders, and which he 
is far too weak to carry. He 
speaks of things which he does 
not understand with the voice 
of a false authority, and we 
would remind him of the wise 
warning which Mr Clynes ad- 
dressed some time since to him 
and his kind. "A great deal 
had been said," we quote Mr 
Clynes, " about a Labour Gov- 
ernment coming in before long. 
Well, if they were within a 
measurable distance of that 
period, he, as a Labour man 
and representative of Labour, 
would suggest to all Labour 
men that the time had arrived 
when it behoved them to have 
a care in what they said and 
did. They must, indeed, try 
to set an example to all." 
These are words which Labour 
in all its sections might well 
ponder. Truly they set a very 
bad example who, in the act 
of offering to Germany all the 
concessions, commercial and 
political, which she asks, raise 
the wicked cry of "booty and 
barricades," a cry which has 
never failed to arouse the worst 
passions of a reckless prole- 

The sad period which ended 
with the declaration of war was 


Musings without Method. 


the golden day of politicians, 
the dark and cloudy night of 
statesmanship. We have been 
governed of late by men who 
thought the means of politics 
far greater than the end, and 
who played the game with a 
feverish eagerness and in com- 
plete indifference to the welfare 
of the country. " Et tout pour 
la trippe" was their motto. 
"And all for Quarter Day." 
While they were at work they 
effectually deceived the people. 
Their words were pompous, 
their manners grave. They 
talked loudly f the battles 
which they had fought and 
would fight in the public 
service. They lived in an at- 
mosphere of tired and feigned 
selflessness, and their poor 
dupes believed that they were 
wearing themselves out in a 
good cause. But all the while 
they devoted long and labo- 
rious days to the congenial 
business of intrigue. Their 
energies were spent upon keep- 
ing this colleague out of the 
Cabinet or upon shoving that 
one into it. England was a 
mere phantom before their 
eyes. Even the opposite party 
faded to a sad insignificance. 
They had something better to 
do than to foil their own or 
their country's enemies. It 
was the duty of each one, so 
they thought, to get as high 
an office as he could, to get 
it as quickly as possible, and 
to hold it against all comers. 
If you want examples of 
political futility, you may find 
them in the many volumes 
of memoirs and recollections 

which pour from the Press. 
Since they are published as 
marks not of obloquy but of 
respect, it is clear that in 
the general esteem political 
intrigue stands high, or did 
stand high until the war. 
Take, for example, the career 
of Sir Charles Dilke, whose 
life has lately been written 
by sympathetic hands. Sir 
Charles was a laboured, indus- 
trious politican who devoted 
his days and nights to the 
study of affairs. He shirked 
no toil that might fit him for 
the posts to which he aspired. 
And yet all that he did and 
thought seems ineffectual to- 
day. We do not speak of the 
ruin which overtook him. Had 
he remained unto the end in 
the sun of popular favour, we 
should still have to record 
what seems to us a wasted 
life. The best of his energies 
was given t a constant 
struggle with political rivals. 
As early as 1873 Chamberlain, 
then a devout Liberal, writes 
to Dilke, also a devout 
Liberal, to ask for news of 
any "fanatics willing to join 
the Forlorn Hope and help in 
smashing up that whited 
sepulchre called the Liberal 
Party." Sir William Hareourt, 
always busy when there was 
an intrigue afoot, and furious 
that he had got no better 
office than that of Solicitor- 
General, confesses in the 
same year that he "felt like 
an old bachelor going to 
leave his lodgings and marry 
a woman he is not in love 
with, in grave doubt whether 


Patriotism or Personal Advancement ? 


he and she will suit." And 
the same stalwart politician, 
a few years later, being dis- 
contented with the Home 
Secretaryship conferred upon 
him, threatened an open re- 
volt. "When I resign," said 
he, "I shall not become a 
discontented right honourable 
on a back bench, but shall 
go abroad for some months, 
and when I oome back rat 
boldly to the other side." Thus 
they acted without a thought 
f the country which they 
were pledged to serve, and 
their successors cannot be sur- 
prised when they see the trade 
of politician thoroughly dis- 

But the best example of 
Dilke's cynicism may be found 
in the records of the year 1882. 
Lord Frederick Cavendish and 
Burke had just been murdered 
in the Phoanix Park. A strong 
man was obviously needed to 
restore some sense of justice 
and order to Ireland. Sir 
Charles Dilke was chosen for 
the post, and would have ac- 
cepted it, but for one trifling 
obstacle. He refused to accept 
it unless he were given a place 
in the Cabinet, and since this 
place was withheld from him, 
Ireland and the country and 
the Empire were as dust under 
his feet. There is no other 
business, except the business 
of the State, which could be 
carried on with so little feeling 
of zeal and loyalty. The call 
of patriotism has been silenced 
always by the loud shouts of 
personal dignity or personal 
advancement. And if you 

would find another shining in- 
stance of irrelevant cunning, 
turn to Lord Merley's 'Recol- 
lections,' and read the amazing 
chapter, where the story is told 
of Gladstone's expulsion from 
his own Cabinet, and the ap- 
pointment of his successor. It 
is melancholy reading, but it 
will explain why our politicians 
refused to warn the country of 
the German peril which hung 
over it, and why they left us 
unarmed and defenceless in the 
face of a resolute and unscrupu- 
lous foe. 

Whatever difficulties lie 
ahead of us, one thing is cer- 
tain : we shall not surmount 
them if we do not find a better 
method of politics. If the men 
elected to represent our swollen, 
ignorant, and irresponsible 
electorate adhere to the ancient 
ways of intrigue and corrup- 
tion, then an end will soon be 
put to the Kingdom and the 
Empire which have been our 
pride. If Mr A. refuses to 
serve the country because he 
has not got the job he wants ; 
if Mr B. sulks because he is not 
in the Cabinet, and spends his 
nights and days in secret at- 
tacks upon his own friends; 
then the task of government 
will be impossible. Our one 
chance of meeting the danger 
of the future is that the poli- 
ticians put an end to their 
old levity and look rather 
further towards what is coming 
than the nearest vacant office. 
If we are to beat the Bolsheviks 
at home and abroad, we shall 
need all our strength and all 
our wisdom. The new Fran- 


Musings without Method. 

[Feb. 1918. 

ohise Bill has wantonly and 
wickedly complicated the task 
of government, and monstrously 
increased the risks which we 
run. But at least it will rid 
us presently of the old gangs, 
who, with the aid of party 
funds and with a complete 
devotion to parliamentary in- 
trigue, brought us to the pass 
in which we stood at the out- 
break of the war. Meanwhile, 
we shall confront the new 
electors without confidence 
either in their goodwill or in 

their good faith, and shall 
pray fervently that until the 
end of the war their opinions 
will not be asked or tested. 
We wish to witness no vain 
experiments in political phil- 
osophy so long as we are busy 
fighting the Germans, and we 
shall prefer to go on, as best 
we can, with a tired Parlia- 
ment rather than take the leap 
in the dark which our dema- 
gogues have deprecated in their 
speeches and approved by their 

Printed by William Blackwood and Sons. 




ABE you sane, healthy, sound good fellows and not many 

of nerve, and verging upon dubious ones. And I should 

Army age? If so, I submit say that the Air Service 

the herewith advice in all sin- wraps less red tape round 

oerity become an Air Service its personnel than does any 

pilot. Have you a soulful other State department, 

craving for some ambushed The inevitable " but " at- 

job that will allow you to tending these attractions is 

wear a protective uniform? that, to become an efficient 

If so, for Heaven's sake pass War pilot, you must live for 

on ; your uncle, the retired the work and for nothing else. 

General, will no doubt find Prisoilla, your bank account, 

you something unstrenuous in the home, the theatre, books, 

one of the commandeered cards, your tame dog all 

hotels. these should be quite second - 

For an average boy there ary concerns until you are 

can be no more satisfactory fully trained. How else can 

duty, no more interesting you cram into a month or 

work, than war-flying; and I two the mastery of many 

speak not as the Scribes, but technical subjects which under 

as one having authority. It normal conditions would need 

is the most adventurous, the a year or two? 

most individual, and probably Wherefore it is not to be 

the most varied branch of wondered at that Air pilots 

combatant service. Also, it seem a race apart, endlessly 

includes many thousands of talking air talk, endlessly 



Flight Errants. 


swapping air yarns whenever 
two or three of them for- 
gather. This enoroaohment of 
shop interest into private life 
has created a type the Air- 
man out of each and every 
material whence officer -power 
is drawn. Subalterns from 
other arms, men who have 
fought in the ranks, men from 
five continents and umpteen 
colonies, public- school boys, ex- 
professional men, ex-students, 
ex -farmers, ex -clerks, even a 
few stray litteratooers and ac- 
tors nowadays all these may 
be found wearing the mater- 
nity jacket of the R.F.C. Yet 
so engrossed are they with 
matters aeronautic, that in the 
Mess of a training squadron 
age and accent are the only 
signposts to its members' 
diverse pasts. For the rest, 
former interests are side- 
tracked by flying. Which is 
as it should be. 

What is the seoret of this 
sameness of outlook among 
people otherwise so different? 
The absorbing quality of fly- 
ing in general and war-flying 
in particular, and the need 
of intensive concentration on 
the many subjects that be- 
long to war - flying. From 
the time when the fledgling 
cadet begins his technical 
studies to the time when, as 
a Temporary Second Lieu- 
tenant, he gets his warrant 
for France, he grows more 
and more aviation-centred, un- 
til at length he becomes the 
Compleat Pilot. 

If the subject interests you, 
friend the reader, I will as- 
sume you to be an aspirant 
for Wings, and will show you 

the path to be travelled in the 
making of a pilot. Long ago 
the Flying Corps discarded the 
ridiculous system of taking 
eighteen-year-old boys as offi- 
cers when they scarcely knew 
how to salute. First, then, as 
a white - banded private, a 
cadet school will teach you 
such necessary matters as dis- 
cipline, drill, the elements of 
military law, Army organisa- 
tion, and some idea of the 
behaviour required by officer- 
tradition and the Assistant 
Provost - Marshals. At this 
stage you may be bored, but 
you must not show it, for in 
the Flying Corps nobody under 
the rank of Squadron Com- 
mander is allowed to appear 

The next stage a School of 
Military Aeronautics allows 
no time for boredom. There 
you must masticate a good 
working knowledge of a dozen 
highly technical subjects and 
pass creditably in each of 
them. First and foremost 
engines, which are far and 
away the most important part 
of aircraft. Put a modern type 
of engine in an old-fashioned 
aeroplane and you will probably 
get excellent performances. Put 
an old-fashioned type of engine 
in one of the most modern aero- 
planes and you will get poor 
performances. First-rate types 
f aeroplane there are in 
plenty ; first - rate types of 
engines few. It is not too 
much to say that two-thirds 
of the difficulty of aircraft 
production concerns itself with 
aero engines. Therefore, a 
pilot must have a perfect 
understanding of the engines 


I. The Making of a Pilot. 


he is likely to use, and a plu- 
perfect understanding of how 
to keep them in good work- 
ing order. 

Now, unless you have been 
an engineer of sorts, you 
probably know as little about 
internal combustion engines as 
I did before the R.F.C. took 
me in hand which is to say, 
you have a vague notion of 
their methods of generating 
power, and, from dabbling in 
motor-cars, you can tell which 
is and which is not the mag- 
neto, the carburetter, a cylinder, 
a piston, and a sparking-plug. 
Listen carefully to the lectures, 
then, and find out how much 
there is to learn. Open your 
text-books and read hard ; also 
make pretty drawings in colour 
of such things as thrust-boxes 
and oil - pumps. Above all; 
take your coat off and dis- 
mantle and assemble specimen 
engines in the workshops. Your 
hands may get dirtied in the 
process, but is there not a 
manicurist in the High Street ? 
And if, after a few weeks at 
the S.M.A., you can take any 
one of the eight or nine engines 
used on active service and reel 
off full details of its cycle of 
operations, oil supply, thrust 
transmission, valve timing, 
magneto timing, petrol sup- 
ply and consumption; if, in 
addition, you can discourse 
light-heartedly about valves, 
obturator rings, engine drive- 
wheels, ball-races, air intake 
and oarburation, you will 
satisfy the examiners. If not, 
try again. 

Next in importance comes 
the rigging of aeroplanes. As 
it is likely that one day your 

life will depend on the strength 
of a flying wire, or even of a 
turnbuckle, you may as well 
learn all you can of the subject. 
With rigging is bound up the 
Theory of Flight ; and to this 
also you must be introduced if 
you are to trust a machine 
and realise why it flies. No, 
madam, the engine does not 
pull the aeroplane off the 
ground, neither is the pro- 
peller used to keep the pilet 
cool, nor can an aeroplane 
stand still in the air at least 
not for longer than a fraction 
of a second. How, then, is 
heavier - than - air flight ob- 
tained? To grasp the com- 
plete theory, you must know 
something of camber, angles of 
incidence, thrust, and the dear 
old lift-drift ratio. And how 
has heavier- than-air flight been 
brought to its present standard 
of speed, climb, and safety? 
Study the inter-relations of 
wing-surface, high and low 
aspect ratios, stagger, dihedral, 
and stream-line; and pay a 
tribute to the designers. And, 
unless you have the technical 
instinct, I would advise you 
not to begin with text-books 
in expertese which you would 
fail to understand, but to read 
from cover to over that excel- 
lently simple work by Captain 
Barber, R.F.C., one of the 
pioneers of aircraft construc- 
tion, 'The Aeroplane Speaks.' 
The technical school likewise 
teaches you much that is worth 
knowing about bombs and 
bomb -dropping, aerial photo- 
graphy, cross-country flying, 
instruments, meteorology, ma- 
chine-guns, wireless telegraphy, 
co-operation between aircraft 


Flight Errants. 


and infantry, and artillery ob- 
servation. As an instance of 
the thoroughness applied to 
the instruction of each of these 
matters, I will deal with the 
last-named. Spotting for the 
guns is languaged by oode- 
letters, which are wirelessed 
from the air and ground- 
stripped from the battery posi- 
tions. To begin with, there- 
fore, you must learn by heart 
all signals which may be em- 

At length come the written 
tests, reminiscent in their pro- 
cedure of a University or Civil 
Service examination. The 
questions being technical, it is 
advisable to give guesswork 
the go-bye when dealing with 
them. Otherwise, you may 
join the immortals who in the 
various examinations made 
such weird statements as that 
high aspect ratio was the view 
of a plane surface as seen from 
a high aspect above it, or that 
the valves of a rotary engine 
opened by centrifugal force. 
These answers were surpassed 
by that of a Canadian who, 
asked what he would do if 
enemy craft "sat on his tail," 
took the figurative phrase 
literally, and said the tail 
would probably fly off and his 
machine nose -dive into the 
ground. Replies even more 
wonderful were sometimes 
given in the old days of oral 
examination. I remember one 
man who knew the action of 
a certain bomb, but never 
could call to mind the names 
of its various parts. Ordered 
to describe the explosion, he 
said something like this: 

" The rush of air turns these 

little jiggers, which unscrews 
the top of that little chap. 
The needle arrangement here 
is thus allowed to fall flop on 
to this beggar, which ignites 
some sort of a powder, which 
sets off the fuse. The ex- 
plosion is delayed for a second 
or so by that little fellow, and 
then finds its way to this 
bloke, which is called the 
detonator, I believe. The de- 
tonator thing stretches down 
into the main body of the 
bomb and stirs up that ex- 
plosive stuff there, and the 
whole caboodle bursts ut- 

"Ve-ry interesting," said the 
examiner ; " and what exactly 
is that explosive stuff there ? " 

"'Fraid I've forgotten the 
name for the moment, but it's 
something ending in * ite. J " 

"Troglodyte?" earnestly sug- 
gested the examiner. 

"That's the stuff." 

Such answers bring joy to 
the examiners, but they will 
not help you to pass from 
technical work to the more 
interesting instruction in act- 
ual flying. When you do this, 
you discard your white band, 
become a Temporary Second 
Lieutenant, and associate with 
officer-pupils who have trans- 
ferred from other branches of 
the Army. Also, you are re- 
ferred to as a "Hun," which 
is a term of scorn applied by 
qualified pilots to their un- 
winged juniors. 

On the first fine morning 
after arrival at the aerodrome, 
you are introduced to the 
Jabber wook - like bus known 
officially as a Maurice Farman 
and unofficially as a Rumpety 


7. The Making of a Pilot. 


unless the squadron uses the 
D.H. 6, a more modern type of 
training bus, sometimes called 
"Hopping Herbert." Squeez- 
ing through a dozen wires, you 
climb into the nacelle and sit 
down on the front stool. Fac- 
ing you is the handlebar-like 
joystick ("control-lever" is the 
disregarded official word) used 
on Kumpeties, and ready to 
your feet are the rudder-bars. 
The real thing at last, you 
think, while the instructor ex- 
plains the normal use of these 

But it is by no means the 
real thing, as you will discover 
when you begin flying the 
faster craft. All you do on 
Rumpeties is to wander round 
and round the aerodrome at 
the height of a few hundred 
feet. As a start, you perform 
dual control with the instruc- 
tor, who corrects your faults, 
and whose presence is a com- 
forting insurance against acci- 
dent. Very soon for ordinary 
flying is an easy business 
you can master a machine in 
the air with fair success, and 
the instruetor shows his con- 
fidence by placing both hands 
on your shoulders to underline 
the fact that the controls are 
wholly yours, Make a mistake, 
however, and down go his 
hands on to the joystick in 
double - quick time. But you 
find the problem of landing 
more difficult ; in fact, landing 
is far harder than actual flying. 
The theory is to glide down, 
with engine shut off, at an 
angle a little steeper than 
just steep enough to maintain 
flying speed, to flatten out 
gradually a few feet above the 

ground, to touch earth very 
gently, and to run along for a 
short distance before pulling 
up. In the case of a beginner, 
what generally happens is that 
he flattens out too soon or too 
late, or too much or not enough, 
and in any case bumps, bumps, 
bumps over the grass in a 
series of hops. 

However, one day, after a 
few satisfactory landings, the 
instructor jumps out and 

"Off you go for your first 
solo. Keep calm, don't crash, 
and God bless you." 

You repeat solemnly the 
ritual words of the mechanic 
at the propeller: 

" Switch off, petrol on, suck 

" Contaxer ! " the mechanic 

"Contact!" you reply, and 
with the throttle-back roar of 
the Kennnlt, your ordeal has 
begun. Hun your engine full 
out for a few seconds as a test, 
then throttle back again, and 
wave your hand to the me- 
chanics holding the wing- tips. 
The chocks are pulled clear, 
and, gingerly enough, you taxi 
the Rumpety to a convenient 
spot for taking off from the 
ground. Having drawn a deep 
breath, you open the engine 
full out, gently hold down the 
machine's nose, and race into 
the wind. Now you have at- 
tained flying speed, so pull the 
joystick toward you ever so 
slightly. The jerking motion 
gives place to a pleasant calm, 
and you are in the air, with 
nobody to help you. You con- 
tinue to climb, and find your- 
self above the wood at the far 


Flight Erranta 


end of the aerodrome. The 
controls begin t feel slack; 
so, remembering that the 
dread " stalling point " will be 
reached if the machine climbs 
at under thirty miles an hour, 
you push forward the joystick 
very hastily. Too hastily, for 
the trees seem to be rushing 
towards you. If the machine 
goes down at more than ninety 
it will be in a nose -dive, so 
back with the joystick again. 
All of which teaches that 
heavy- headedness is as much 
to be avoided in flying as in 
diplomacy and burglary. 

At 300 feet you are outside 
the aerodrome and may turn. 
Suddenly the air slaps your 
face a side - slip evidently. 
Not enough rudder, so get 
level and begin another turn. 
Not enough bank this time, 
and you swing round, more 
than turn round. However, 
you are travelling in the re- 
quired direction. The sheds 
appear tiny and remote as you 
approach, and the trees behind 
them look like weeds. And 
you feel very lonely. Perhaps 
the Tanks would have suited 
you better, after all? And 
why should your mind be so 
clear on the point that the 
coffin is placed on a gun- 
carriage at a military funeral ? 
And you have a queer idea that 
the bus will do what it pleases, 
without reference to yourself. 
As it is lurching to the left, on 
encountering a "bump" you 
can put this theory to the test. 
Over to the right with the joy- 
stick; and you are reassured. 
The Rumpety goes along, level 
onoe more, though pointing a 
little outwards from the aero- 

drome. A slight kick of the 
rudder cures this deviation and 
you are in line with the sheds. 
You are tempted to turn into 
the wind and land. But the 
orders are to do two circuits, 
so keep calm and make for the 
corner of the aerodrome before 
turning. Half-way round the 
second circuit your confidence 
reasserts itself, and your turns 
are almost faultless, with just 
the right amount of rudder 
and bank. At last you are in 
a position to come down. You 
choose a patch of ground clear 
of other machines, stuff the 
nose down, pull back the 
throttle, and, with another 
deep breath, start to glide. 
Likely enough, the bugbear of 
a possible "stall" makes you 
bring the bus down rather too 
fast. Now flatten out, for you 
are close to the ground. Too 
much. The nose is going up 
push the stick forward again. 
Bump! You have hit the 
grass and bounced back again. 
Bump I more gently. Another 
slight hop, and you taxi over 
solid earth. Not a disastrous 
landing, but certainly not a 
good one. 

You open out the throttle 
and try again. This time you 
feel confident from the start 
rather over-confident, if any- 
thing. The circuit is accom- 
plished without undue thrills, 
after which you glide down 
and make a really smooth land- 
ing. Very pleased with life, 
you taxi towards the sheds. 

"Not so bad," says the 
flight commander; "but don't 
imagine you're what the papers 
call an intrepid birdman. Bun 
along to the machine-gun class." 


/. The Making of a Pilot. 


During the next few days of 
fine weather you make further 
exciting oirouits of the aero- 
drome on suoh Bumpeties as 
remain unorashed, and each 
trip makes you feel more at 
home. Spare time is deveted 
to artillery observation, sig- 
nalling on the "buzzer" and 
the Viokers and Lewis guns. 
At length, when you feel quite 
comfortable in the air and have 
managed to perform a few such 
simple evolutions as S -turns, 
spirals, and figure 8's, you are 
labelled for transmission to a 
School of Higher Instruction. 

On this transfer depends 
your future work at the Front. 
You may go to a squadron 
preparing pilots for the two- 
seaters that observe for artil- 
lery and perform "contact 
patrol" with the infantry; 
you may find yourself booked 
for the faster two-seaters, in 
which case your jobs will in- 
clude reconnaissance, photo- 
graphy, possibly bomb-drop- 
ping, and certainly plenty of 
fighting ; you may be set to fly 
the special craft which carry 
out light bomb raids ; or, if you 
are light-handed and seem 
likely to make a good fighting 
pilot, you are trained for the 
fast single-seater scouts, on 
which your purpose in life will 
be to attack Hun aircraft 
wherever you see them and, 
from low altitudes, to loose 
machine-gun bullets and small 
bombs at enemy troops and 
positions. In any case, your 
specialised training is syste- 
matic, intelligent, and thor- 
oughly efficient. As it was 
once my fretful lot to be 
a Scout Instructor, I will 

deal in particular with that 

For the first week or two 
at the advanced school you are 
still very much of a "Han." 
The instructors, winged and 
perhaps decorated, sit apart 
from you in Mess at the staff 
table. Possibly some of the 
" Huns " with you are senior 
in rank to some of the in- 
structors, and have seen more 
active service. Nevertheless, 
they are " Huns," and as such 
may be gorily t eld- off by one- 
pipped pilots proficient enough 
to instruct. It is the only 
workable method, and a sense 
of humour is a great asset to 
the seasoned " Hun." Another 
thing that helps you to remain 
decently humble is the dis- 
covery that as yet you know 
nothing about real flying. The 
"tractor" in which you are 
now taken up is very differ- 
ent from the lumbering old 
" pusher " Kumpety. Prob- 
ably it is an Avro with Mono- 
souparpe engine to my mind 
the best type of instructional 
aeroplane in existence. At a 
suitable height the instructor 
waggles the joystick, as signal 
that he wants you to take 
control. The bus noses to the 
left. You kick the right-hand 
rudder-bar, much as you would 
have done on a Maurice Far- 
man, and the machine swings 
round to the right instantane- 
ously, almost in a flat spin. 
The instruetor taps the stick 
twioe, thus ordering a turn. 
You yank the joystick over 
and put on plenty of rudder, 
again after the Rumpety 
fashion, and the Avro leans 
sideways vertically, its nose 


Flight Erranta. 


slipping downward the while. 
The instructor normalises the 
controls, shouts forcibly that 
your movements are like those 
of a cart -horse, and demon- 
strates the importance of being 
light - handed and sensitive- 
footed. Indeed, flying is in 
this respect like bob-sleighing, 
or driving a fast ear, or riding 
a soft - mouthed horse. By 
reason of their sense of touch 
and their tried nerve, men 
who have hunted a good deal, 
or driven racing-oars, almost 
invariably make good pilots. 

Nevertheless, by now you 
have the flying sense, and 
before long you should be 
fit for solo trips on Avros 
and other higher training- 
machines. If you are wise, 
you begin to practise "stunt- 
ing " at this stage. Flying 
level round and round an 
aerodrome is not of much 
value, for in France your life 
will depend times out of 
number on aerobatics. Throw 
the machine about, then, in 
every possible way. There is 
not a single position, ordinary 
or extraordinary, from which, 
given a thousand feet of height, 
an aeroplane cannot be brought 
back to the level with the 
greatest of ease. First of all, 
the vertical (or split - " air ") 
turn must be mastered. In 
this, with the bus banking 
vertically to one side, the 
rudder and elevator exchange 
functions, and should be treated 
accordingly. Once the habit of 
split-" air" turns is acquired, 
you will seldom use any other 
kind. Next comes the side- 
slip, which is easy enough, 
and will be useful when at 

close quarters with Archie 
shells or hostile craft. The 
climbing turn, and its first 
cousin the "Immelman," are 
also well worth practice. Then 
there is the most famous of all 
stunts the loop. It is quite 
easy, but one's nerve needs 
screwing up to high tension 
before the first attempt, much 
as in the case of a high dive 
into water. To prepare for a 
loop increased speed is neces- 
sary, so hold down the nose 
of the machine for a second. 
Now pull back the joystick, 
not too roughly, until it is 
pressing against your tummy. 
Nose first, the bus shoots up- 
ward, revolves on to its back, 
hangs there for a fraction of a 
second, falls down in a straight 
nose-dive, and flattens out to 
the level. If you have con- 
fidence in your safety-belt, the 
sensation of a first loop will 
not be very striking, except 
that the ground looks strange 
from upside-down. 

A useful manoeuvre, which 
has allowed many a badly- 
damaged machine to escape 
from enemies, is the spinning 
nose-dive. You shut off the 
engine and, holding the joy- 
stick well back, put on full 
rudder to right or left. The 
bus heels over steeply to which- 
ever side you have ruddered, 
and twists downwards, spin- 
ning like a log in a whirlpool. 
Yon may get giddy and lose 
the sense of direction amid the 
toplike turns, but the machine 
can always be brought into an 
ordinary nose- dive by central- 
ising the controls. 

Another stunt worth culti- 
vating for use in a fight is the 


L The Making of a Pilot. 


roll, or sideways loop, wing- 
tip over wing-tip. On many 
machines it can be continued 
for several revolutions without 
a stop. All these aerobatics, 
with others in the aerial bag of 
tricks, are essential if you want 
to make a successful fighting 

At about this period you 
may have your first crash an 
event which, sooner or later, 
happens to every pilot. Likely 
enough it occurs through a 
flat turn near the ground, or 
through drifting sideways as 
you flatten out of a glide. The 
wheels hit earth in a transverse 
direction, or perhaps the bus 
topples on to one wing, per- 
haps it tilts forward and stands 
on its nose, perhaps the under- 
carriage gives. In any event, 
you pull up jerkily in an un- 
natural position, are bruised, or 
at any rate shaken, for several 
days after the unpleasant ex- 
planation with your flight 
commander. But in future, 
you will realise the hardness of 
the ground and take good care 
not to glide in with drift. To 
many, a mild crash is the best 
preventive of carelessness and 
over- confidence. 

Another turning - point of 
your air career is the first long 
cross-country flight. Already, 
in trips around the aerodrome, 
you have accustomed yourself 
to reading the groundscape- 
mosaio, as seen from a few 
thousand feet. Now, on a 60- 
mile tour, to include landings 
at a couple of aerodromes other 
than your own, you are initi- 
ated into finding the way by 
map and compass. The journey 
teaches you the guide value to 

an airman of railways, rivers, 
canals, and roads, and of the 
shape of woods and lakes in 
reference to map - bearings. 
Also, from beginning to end of 
it, you should make a study of 
the near-by fields, so as to be 
ready for a possible forced 
landing. If such a misfortune 
happens, choose the largest and 
smoothest meadow, find out 
the exact wind-direction, and 
allow yourself plenty of space 
when touching earth. After- 
wards, anything may occur 
while you wait for assistance. 

Forced landings have been 
responsible for all sorts of hap- 
penings to pilots, from mar- 
riage to pneumonia. Once, 
when my engine conked, I 
landed on a lawn near a big 
house. Two middle-aged men, 
complete with buttonholes and 
gaiters, arrived. I asked after 
the nearest telephone. One 
man turned his back and left 
without a word, but clearly the 
other one was anxious to help. 
He removed his hat, bowed 
with distinction, scratched his 
head, and said 

" Thank you I mean to say, 
Good morning. You can 'phone 
from the village church, I 

" The village church ? " 
myself, incredulously. 

" Yes, I think you can 'phone 
from the church." 

We remained looking at 
each other in puzzled man- 
ner, until a white -faced girl 
approached, accompanied by a 
nurse. The man became con- 
fidential and clutched my arm. 

"You see that lady?" he 
half whispered. 


298 Flight Erranta. [March 

" She's a duke's daughter." oart, motor-oar, wheeled-ohair, 
c * Indeed ? " perambulator, and foot. Scores 
"Yes. Her intended broke of children continue to spring 
off the engagement, and this from nowhere in particular, 
so affected the poor girl's until it becomes evident that 
brain that she became one the birth-rate problem would 
of us." cease to exist if all parents 
I had landed in the grounds did their duty to the same ex- 
of a private lunatic asylum ! tent as the village elders. The 
The engine repaired, I waved small boys dodge under the 
to the small crowd as the planes, try to finger wing- 
machine rose from the lawn, tips, elevator - wires, and en- 
The duke's daughter was gine, and ask what makes 
haughtily unresponsive, but the propeller go round, and 
the church telephonist again whether you have dropped 
removed his hat and bowed bombs on Germany, and, 
with distinction. above all, when the airyplane 

What usually follows a is going up, Mister? 

forced landing is something And you decide that, after 

of this sort. You send for a all, Herod wasn't a bad sort 

local policeman, Regular or of chap. 

Special, to guard the machine Between flights you must 
while you telephone. A small sandwich attendance at ground- 
boy arrives, and asks when the classes in various side-lines of 
airyplane came down, Mister? war -flying. Each day lec- 
A small girl arrives, and asks tures are given by experts on 
when the airyplane is going some such subject as aerial 
up, Mister ? A farm labourer fighting, formation - flying, 
arrives, and tells you how bomb-dropping, reconnaissance, 
the Zeppelins passed over the contact patrol, artillery ob- 
village, five months ago. Many servation, and the use of 
more boys and girls arrive, machine-guns. Having note- 
and ask when the airyplane booked and learned a good 
is going up, Mister? The deal of these matters, all that 
policeman arrives, receives in- remains to be done before 
struotions not to let anybody qualifying for a notice in 
write his name on the planes the 'Gazette' as " Fly ing 
or touch the machine, and Officer " is to pilot a type 
tells you how the Zeppelins of aeroplane used on active 
passed over the village, five service. 

months ago. Amid a quick But this graduation does 
fire of questions from small not include a right to wear 
boys, you walk to the Post the winged badge of a pilot. 
Office, telephone for mechanics, Various final tests in the air 
and walk back again. The have to be passed. The two- 
crowd is now much bigger, seater pilots must wireless 
and grws every minute. Men, down accurate eorreotions of 
women, and babies of every an artilleiy shot ; must drop 
age visit you by bicycle, trap, flares at ground targets, the 


/. The Making of a Pilot. 


line of descent being recorded 
as that of a bomb ; must read 
signals from the ground as 
though in eo- operation with 
infantry; and must take suc- 
cessful photograpliy. For you, 
as a soout pilot, the important 
tests are formation-flying and 
fighting tactics. 

In France, if you do not 
habitually keep close to the 
rest of the patrol, sooner or 
later some concealed Boohe 
scouts will pounce, out you off, 
and maybe shoot you down. 
Flying in good formation 
needs plenty of practice. The 
surrounding machines look 
nearer than they really are, 
and an ungrounded fear of 
collision tends to keep you too 
far away from them. Also, 
the engines must be throttled 
back and forward exactly the 
right amount; otherwise you 
lag behind, or get in somebody 
else's line of flight. When 
turning in mass, the inner 
machines have a very small 
radius of movement, and their 
pilots must throttle down 
almost to stalling-point, while 
the machines on the far side 
are obliged to swerve in large 
radius at a greatly increased 
speed. These difficulties must 
be definitely overcome, for if 
you cannot keep close forma- 
tion unconsciously, you will 
waste valuable attention that 
should be devoted to searching 
for Huns. 

As a soout pilot your most 
important branch of training 
is aerial fighting. The pro- 
fessors of this expert science 
are men who have themselves 
fought over the lines for many 
months. From time to time 

they pay a "refresher" visit 
to France, where they fly with 
a scout squadron, and pick up 
the latest developments in air 

The fighting instructor 
makes an appointment with 
you at, say, 3000 feet above 
the large wood bordering the 
aerodrome. The two machines 
approach in mimic attack, and 
it is the pupil's aim to reach 
a "blind" spot in relation to 
the hostile craft that is to 
say, a position whence he can 
fire effectively without being 
fired at in return. All your 
skill at "stunting" is needed, 
for during an aeroplane scrap 
the machines twist, swerve, 
and roll round each other in 
delirium tremens manner. 
Straight flying is worse than 
useless, for it makes you an 
easy target; whereas if the 
movement be continuously er- 
ratic, accurate aim by your 
opponent becomes impossible. 
And if, during the sham fight, 
you lose sight of the instructor, 
stunt like the devil until you 
pick him up ; most likely he is 
in a "blind spot" just under- 
neath your tailplane, counting 
the rounds he might have 
plugged into you. 

Finally, all pilots, no matter 
what their branch of work, 
go to a School of Aerial Gun- 
nery. Here you not only learn 
everything that can be taught 
about the weapons which will 
mean life or death to you, but 
you are given ingenious op- 
portunity for firing them. To 
begin with, the usual ground 
practices are carried out, as 
in the case of infantry. After- 
wards the pupil shoots at 


Flight Errants. 


aeroplane targets, stationary 
and disappearing, taking aim 
through the special deflection- 
sights by means of which 
allowance is made for speed 
and direction. Next come 
various side-lines, sportive but 
useful, such as firing at bal- 
loons and clay pigeons, firing 
from swinging trollies that 
travel along narrow - gauge 
rails, and firing from suspended 
oars that travel along over- 
head wires. To round off the 
course, the pilots use their 
machine-guns in the air, firing 
from the different types of 
machine, both at targets on 
the ground and at tow-targets 
trailed behind another aero- 
plane. If, after a complete 
course at the School of Aerial 
Gunnery, you cannot doctor 
Viokers and Lewis guns and 
shoot fairly well with both 
of them, something is wrong 
with your intelligence or your 

At last you have passed 
every test that divides the 
"Hun" from the pukka Ser- 
vice pilot. And, looking back, 
I think you will admit that, 
though the work seemed stren- 
uous at times, it was intensely 
interesting. Get the nearest 
tailor to sew wings on your 
tunic before you visit town 
on overseas leave. And if 
you are so minded during the 
limited time allowed, you may 
renew the lost threads of your 
lighter interests Prisoilla, 
your bank account, the home, 
the theatre, books, cards, your 
tame dog. For the rest, any 
day may mean au revoir to 
them, as you settle down in 
the boat-train from Victoria. 

If, however, you are kept in 
England for a while longer, 
grab at every opportunity for 
flying ; throw the bus about as 
if it were Cinquevalli's cannon- 
ball, and practise cross-country 
flying at low altitudes, stunting 
the while like blazee. This last 
may waken old gentlemen from 
their countryside slumbers, so 
that they write protesting 
letters to 'The Times' about 
" dangerous and unnecessary 
antics of young airmen." But 
don't mind that ; you, not they, 
will have to fly a few hundred 
feet above enemy country, 
dodging machine-gun bullets 
and flaming onions. 

And so, by way of finishing- 
off practice in France, to daily 
meetings with German aero- 
planes and Archibald's anti- 
aircraft devilries. May the 
gods protect you ! 

My history of the making of 
a war pilot is necessarily in- 
complete, but it is enough to 
show what an efficient system 
of training has been evolved by 
the Air Service. Moreover, it 
springs from impressions of 
training gathered in 1917. 
Since then the system, sensitive 
to the ever-changing character 
of war in the air, has been 
speeded up by reorganisation. 
It is operating at scores of 
aerodromes and dep6ts in 
Great Britain and at dozens 
more in the Colonies and De- 
pendencies, and it is responsible 
for the production of many 
thousand pilots each year. 

The most important of the 
recent developments in training 
is the K.F.C. School of Special 
Flying, the methods of which 
are being widely copied by 


/. The Making of a Pilot. 


other schools. These methods 
may well revolutionise the 
teaching of aviation. Flying, 
still in its childhood, has since 
babyhood been afflicted with 
growing pains, the most 
troublesome of them being a 
certain indefiniteness in blend- 
ing theory with practice. For 
example, new pilots know by 
experience the effect on an 
aeroplane of all actions by the 
controls ; but comparatively 
few of them could explain 
exactly what is performed by 
each conjunction of movements 
by the rudder, elevator, and 
ailerons. Which is regrettable, 
for a clearer understanding 
gives added confidence and pre- 
vents liberties with the factor 
of safety. 

Recognising that existing 
methods of instruction in avi- 
ation were more or less hap- 
hazard, an officer evolved a 
scheme whereby a pupil's intro- 
duction to the air would be both 
scientific and practical. He 
analysed the principles of flight 
in relation to their bearing on 
aeroplane controls ; reduced the 
analysis to the plainest of for- 
mulae; translated the formulae 
into " patter " easy of remem- 
brance by the dullest brain; 
and divided and subdivided the 
patter into a series of simple 
lessons to be given and demon- 
strated while flying. The sys- 
tem produced extraordinary re- 
sults, and it is now leavening 
the whole of the Air Service. 
Many pilots with hundreds of 
hours over enemy country to 
their credit studied the new 

methods during the same course 
as myself, and each one owned 
that hitherto his understanding 
of aviation had been incom- 
plete. This plan has been 
entirely successful. For one 
thing, it has proved elementary 
instruction on such archaic 
buses as the Maurice Farman 
to be superfluous. The S.S.F. 
" Huns " begin on Avros, and 
on them learn the graduated 
" patter " while in the air with 
an instructor. The various 
" stunts " are likewise analysed 
and demonstrated by the in- 
structors, so that a number of 
pupils have actually looped the 
loop and performed voluntary 
spinning nose-dives during a 
first solo flight. 

It is obvious that such high 
standards of training for war 
aviation will constitute a valu- 
able foundation for after-the- 
war aviation, though the most 
difficult subjects in the making 
of a war pilot are those dealing 
with the special requirements 
of active service. Aviation, 
merely as a means of getting 
from one place to another, is a 
simple matter. It is not gener- 
ally realised that ordinary fly- 
ing is as easy as ordinary 
motoring, and nearly as safe. 
Wherefore, when the inven- 
tors turn their attention from 
war requirements to surmount- 
ing the obstacles of expense, 
weather, and comparative 
risk, and when tens of thou- 
sands of ex-war pilots become 
peace pilots, the age of uni- 
versal flight should not be 





MB HOWARD'S appearance 
in our midst was something of 
a mystery. I say appearance, 
because "arrival" would be 
altogether too definite and too 
ordinary a word to describe 
the strange way in which we 
became aware of this remark- 
able personality, and realised 
that unconsciously, as it were, 
he had become one of our 
inmost circle. That was in 
itself rather a remarkable per- 
formance for a stranger. 

I must explain. I suppose 
most remote country districts 
have that inmost circle ex- 
clusive, rather narrow-minded 
and jealous if you like, but, 
always provided you are one 
of the circle, very good fun 
and very pleasant company. 
Oar circle of friends was very 
much as others of the same 
kind I suppose, but if anything 
rather more forbidding to the 
stranger : a collection of a few 
families living in big houses 
not very near each other: 
men and women who had been 
children together, gone to 
parties together, and who now 
hunted together, danced to- 
gether, played tennis together, 
and generally married each 
other: indeed we were mostly 
cousins, good friends in spite 
of some bickering, and with a 
small world quite sufficient for 
our enjoyment. 

There was only one big 
house in the neighbourhood 
which contributed nothing to 

our happy family. Long 
Combe was a famous house 
among antiquaries. Like so 
many old English houses it 
was a monument of many 
ages, an illustration, in wood 
and stone and brick, of the 
customs and thoughts of suc- 
ceeding generations, from the 
days of the third Edward 
the narrow stone passages and 
the great kitchen to the 
Tudor hall, the Elizabethan 
front and the graceful brick 
chimney-stacks, and the carved 
staircase of the Restoration. 
There was a more modern 
wing decorated by Adam : and 
an Italian garden and loggia, 
which dated from the time 
when Sir Francis Joyce in the 
eighteenth .century returned 
from the Continent with new 
ideas of art and decoration, 
and a mixed company of 
Italian advisers. 

From that time Long Combe 
had ceased to grow : Sir 
Francis' foreign friends, his 
harebrained schemes and 
prodigal expenditure over ter- 
races and colonnades and arti- 
ficial lakes, his mad pursuit of 
all that might masquerade as 
Art, and last, but not least, 
his taste for the best wine and 
plenty of it, had crippled Long 
Combe and the family of Joyce 
for good and all, and prema- 
turely closed a very fascinating 
tale of English history. 

The Joyces indeed had re- 
mained at Long Combe; but 


The Whistle. 


that is about all that can be 
said. They had maintained 
themselves with difficulty : the 
timber was out down and sold 
old Sir Francis' lime avenue 
was the last to go, that was in 
1820 then gradually the land 
went ; first, the outlying farms, 
and then as need grew press- 
ing, more and more passed out 
of their hands till only the 
Park remained. The art trea- 
sures had been disposed of 
secretly or not in the open 
market but most of Sir 
Francis' collection had gradu- 
ally dribbled away pictures, 
furniture, china and by the 
time old John Joyce, the last 
Joyce at Long Combe, began 
to look round for something 
with which to raise the wind, 
there was nothing left, at least 
nothing which he could sell. 
There was only one treasure 
left at Long Combe then some 
beautiful church plate, Italian 
Renaissance work, which had 
been in the family long before 
the days of the old collector, 
and had always been regarded 
as sacred and inviolate by Sir 
John's predecessors, I don't 
know the rights of the case, 
but I believe there was some 
good reason besides that why 
he should not sell it some 
story of a curse and all sorts 
of dire penalties ; however, that 
wasn't going to stop old John. 
He was up to the neck in some 
railway scheme then, and a 
few thousands he thought 
would see him out of the wood 
and on the highroad to for- 
tune; perhaps ha had visions 
of saving the old family too, 
and thoughts for Long Combe 
and the distant cousin, a boy 

then, who would succeed him : 
one may as well give him credit 
for something better than mere 

Anyhow, old John sold the 
plate, and if things had been 
bad before, they became ten 
times worse now. He went 
absolutely smash, lost what 
little money he had, and com- 
pletely retired from the world. 
My father remembered the 
time indeed all our fathers 
did, tjie men of the last genera- 
tion how the house was shut 
up and old John lived there 
alone for a few years more, see- 
ing no one, and never appearing 
outside. When he died, no 
one knew much of the circum- 
stances; there was a bit of a 
mystery, as was rather natural 
considering the strange state 
of things, and gradually of 
course all sorts of stories and 
legends grew up about the 
house being haunted, probably 
only gossip. 

When I first remember, old 
Sir John had been dead five 
years and the house empty; 
then it was taken by a cotton 
spinner from the north, who 
stayed a year or so, and after 
him by a succession of tenants, 
with periods of desertion be- 
tween each. But none of them 
stayed long two or three 
years at most; they left for 
various reasons, but I never 
heard they'd been driven out 
by ghosts or any tale of that 

So it was that Long Combe 
had never settled down into 
the "happy family" round 
about, and whoever were there, 
not through any fault of their 
own, poor people, but merely 


The Whistle. 


because we felt they were birds were so out of our lives, 

of passage, were never con- and that the Joyce heir, if 

sidered as part of our little ever there was one, had dis- 

world. It was sad that the appeared from off the face of 

great house and garden, with the earth. 

their history and old assooia- So far this has been retro- 

tions, which we felt ought to speotion, and I must get on 

be the centre of everything, with the story. 


At the time of which I write 
Long Combe had been empty 
for many years ; the supply of 
spasmodic tenants seemed to 
have run dry, and the poor old 
place had settled down, appar- 
ently, to a resigned decay. 

There was some surprise then 
when it became known that 
the house had been let, and 
not only let, the story said, but 
the tenant was in, and, wonder- 
ful to relate, had actually been 
living there for the past month 
without any of us knowing any- 
thing about it that's to say, 
any of us from the happy family. 

It was a strange state of 
affairs: and this is where Mr 
Howard comes on the scene. 
About three months ago to 
be more precise, on Tuesday, 
the 2nd of November the 
Happy Family Hunt had held 
its opening meet : the scene, as 
usual, was the market-place of 
Button, and there before the 
Phoenix Inn had congregated 
the accustomed crowd of 
friends and neighbours on 
their accustomed horses. The 
genial Master dispensing cherry- 
brandy to all comers, a dozen 
or so ladies, old Johnson, the 
father of the Hunt, in a black 
cap which had seen too many 
seasons and a coat almost 

purple with age, a few of us 
younger ones in pink coats 
and white breeches, feeling 
very smart, twenty or thirty 
farmers full of good cheer, 
and two local parsons, made 
up the field. There were a 
few strangers, of course, some 
guests at houses round about, 
some of them no doubt visitors 
staying in the metropolis of the 
county about fifteen miles away 
occasionally people came out 
for a day from there. Well, 
there were one or two of this 
kind out that day, and among 
them one that we all noticed 
for his particularly smart turn- 
out and the blood horse he 
was riding and later in the 
day for the way in which he 
rode a rattling forty minutes 
over the best of our country. 
He certainly was rather a 
remarkable figure: a little old 
man with white hair and 
moustache and wrinkled brown 
face smiling affably at every 
one, he sat hunched like a 
monkey on his big horse. But, 
my word ! when hounds started 
running he didn't look much 
like an old man; he jammed 
on his hat and sat down and 
rode, and none of us will forget 
it, for we of the Happy Family 
don't like being cut out by a 


The Whistle. 


stranger; anyhow he leffe us 
all behind. 

That evening I rode back 
with the Master, and as we 
jogged home with hounds we 
were talking of the day's sport, 
the horses, the state of the 
country, and all that sort of 
thing. " By the way," he said 
to me, "who on earth was that 
funny old devil on the blood 
horse?" "I don't know," I 
answered; "but, by Gad, he 
does go!" "Yes, that's all 
very well, but he's an infernal 
nuisance; do you know, he 
very nearly lost that hunt for 
us? He was the only man 
who saw the fox slip away 
down the hill young Tom, 
who ought to have been watch- 
ing there, lost himself in covert. 
Well, suddenly I heard some 
one blowing a whistle like the 
very deuce, and I galloped down 
to the lower end to see what 
it was all about, and there I 
found our white - whiskered 
friend sitting on his horse 
outside covert, with a whistle 
stuck in bis face, blowing like 
nothing on earth. 'What in 
hell's your trouble?' I roared 
him. He took the whistle out 
of his mouth and pointed, 
1 Fox gone away, Master,' he 
says, *and half your pack on 
the line there they go, see.' 
1 Then why the blazes couldn't 
you holloa ? ' I said : I was 
pretty wild with him and none 
too civil. He looked at me out 
of his little sore wed -up blue 
eyes and smiled. 'Well,' he 
said, ' I generally attract 
people's attention with this : 
it never fails.' 

" It was no use arguing with 
a lunatic like that, and I blew 


the rest out of covert quick, 
and got 'em on the line; but 
why the deuce couldn't the 
fellow holloa I suppose he's 
got a voice instead of using 
a condemned penny whistle ? 
Anyhow, I hope I impressed 
him, and that he'll mend his 
ways, because he's going to 
be with us all this season ; 
sent a fat cheque already. I 
talked to him again after the 
hunt had to make friends, 
you know and he told me he 
was staying at the pub. at 
Combe; had been there six 
weeks, though I can't think 
why none of us have seen 
him; he's got three horses 
there, and means to hunt 
regularly. I couldn't get 
much out of him : he's a rum 
'an can't be half as old as he 
looks ; but he won't say much ; 
changes the subject if he thinks 
you're trying to find out who 
he is or where he comes from : 
name's Howard, he says." 

Well, that was the first time 
Mr Howard appeared amongst 
us, though he'd been living at 
the inn at Combe for six weeks. 

Of course, the story of that 
opening day and his scene 
with the Master got about : 
it amused every one a good 
deal, as our Master was rather 
famous for his temper, and the 
tale lost nothing in its circula- 
tion ; to ask him if he'd got his 
whistle with him was a certain 
draw. However, that's by the 
way. Mr Howard appeared 
regularly now at every meet, 
and always went well : he was 
not exactly forthcoming, but 
always very civil and pleasant, 
and in time the little white- 
haired figure on the blood 


The Whistle. 


horse became a familiar feature 
of the Hunt, and one which we 
oould ill have spared. We said 
" the Man with the Whistle " 
brought us luck, for to all of 
us he was soon known by that 
name, and I think he knew it, 
and was rather pleased. We 
never saw him without the 
whistle: out shooting, he car- 
ried it in his breast-pocket, and 
was always seen fingering it 
between beats : in church he 
caressed it during the sermon : 
when he dined out he would rap 
it on the table to emphasise 
points in his conversation, for 
he was a great talker we 
found on further acquaint- 
ance; and out hunting he 
wore it, and used it as he had 
that first day ; and we all knew 
that any fox " holloaed " away 
by Mr Howard's whistle would 
show sport. So it was we 
found that quite unconsciously 
Mr Howard and his lucky 
whistle were become one of 
us : he had drifted into the 
inner circle, an unknown, 
rather mysterious, white-haired 
little man, who talked in a 
strange reminiscent way of 
all parts of the world, all 
climates, and most peoples, 
and who, for all we could 
gather, had no particular his- 
tory and no particular desires. 
It was soon after Mr Howard 
had been finally and unreserv- 
edly welcomed amongst us 
that is to say, had hunted 
and shot and dined and gone 
to church with the county 
clique that we heard Long 
Combe was at last let again. 
It caused a good deal of sur- 
prise, and not a little curiosity, 
as to who the tenant was ; and 

for some days this was the 
general subject of conversa- 
tion, until some one happened 
to mention it to Howard. 

" Long Combe's let again, 
have you heard? You know, 
the big place beyond Combe 
village, where you're staying." 

Mr Howard looked up 
quiokly. " Yes," he said, " I've 
taken it. What's more, I've 
lived there a month already: 
didu't any of you know ? " 

" Know ? of course we didn't 
hadn't heard it was let till 
last week; but, if I may ask, 
why on earth did you settle 
on that place ? It's hope- 
lessly tumble - down and vast 
as a prison." 

" Yes, I know ; but it's got 
possibilities, you know, possi- 
bilities And besides, you 

see, I've had a restless life 
knocked about a good bit 
abroad and an old place in 
England with a fine history 
like that rather attracts me. 
I thought I'd try it for a 
bit, anyhow." 

That's all he'd say: not a 
word about what he meant to 
do with the great place no 
real reason why he'd taken it 
didn't know if he'd stay there 
long; he was evasive about 
the whole matter, and didn't 
much want to be questioned. 
When we'd got over our as- 
tonishment, we were naturally 
glad that "the Man with the 
Whistle" had taken Long 
Combe : we had got used to 
his queer mysterious way, 
which really rather amused 
us ; and it certainly was a 
great thing to feel that the 
old house had got a good 
tenant at last, and would 


The Whistle. 


again have a place in our 

And now Long Combe, after 
a century's sleep, awoke again. 
Mr Howard started modestly. 
I believe, as a matter of fact, 
he lived in only two rooms at 
first, with an old woman to 
cook and a man to "do" for 
him; but this, of course, was 
rather natural, considering the 
house had hardly been inhab- 
ited for the last ten years, 
and now needed extensive re- 
pairs and complete redeoora- 
tion to make it presentable. 
I must say we had all noticed 
with pleasure that Mr Howard 
did not mean to have any half 
measures; and for all that he 
said or rather left unsaid 
on the subject, he evidently 
was making preparations for 
a long stay. We were glad 
to see masons and carpenters 
and painters getting busy 
about the place. Mr Howard 
did it rather handsomely. The 
new regime at Long Combe 
was ushered in by a grand 
house - warming dinner, at 
which we all assembled, and, 
as Mr Howard put it, made 
sure for ourselves that the 
old house was once more 

It certainly was alive there 
was no doubt about it. Never 
since old Sir Francis' time had 
the rooms been so ablaze with 
lights and so full of the buzz 
of happy conversation. The 
floors were polished and shin- 
ing, the walls repainted, and 
pictures and furniture and 
china showed that the new 
tenant had plenty of taste 
and plenty of money though 
I am sure none of us knew 

where he had come by either ; 
that didn't trouble us much. 

The dinner was a cheery 
affair, as dinners are wont to 
be in our family circles; but, 
except for an extra amount 
of laughter and talk, there 
was nothing very remarkable. 
One incident I do remember: 
it was when the ladies had gone 
out and we were left alone 
over the wine and the eigars. 
Mr Howard had not spoken 
much during the evening: he 
had seemed content to sit by 
and watch us enjoy ourselves 
and hear us admire the re- 
surrected glories of the place. 
But now he opened out and 
was talking hard at the other 
end of the table, telling some 
story or other. I couldn't 
hear exactly what it was 
about, but he was speaking 
rather excitedly; then I saw 
him lean forward in that way 
we all knew so well, and tap 
on the table to emphasise his 

" Halloa, old man ! " said a 
voice at his end of the table, 
" where on earth's the whistle ? 
I declare you are hitting the 
table with your hand ! I do 
miss the rap of the little 

I saw Mr Howard look up 
at the speaker, then down at 
his hand with an almost 
puzzled expression. He gave 
an uneasy little laugh, but 
smiled as usual as he replied, 
"Oh I don't know: I haven't 
got it on to-night : but I say, 
you fellows, it's time we went 
in and joined the ladies now." 

But the subject wasn't 
dropped at once. When we 
got into the drawing-room we 


The Whistle. 


chaffed him a bit about not 
wearing it on this of all nights. 
"You ought to be wearing it 
to-night," Mrs Pearson said ; 
" I'm perfectly certain it brings 
luck. Do you know that this 
season we've had the four 
longest runs that any one re- 
members, and each time you 
'blew* the fox away on your 
whistle?" " Yes," I said ; " and 
look here, Howard, do tell us 
the history of your talisman. 
Where did you pick it up ? Is 
it Chinese jade or what? it's 
such a curious-looking thing 
I've often wondered." 

"Oh, I'll tell you one day," 
said our host; "but it's too 
long a stery now I'll spin 
you the yarn sometime." And 
with that he turned away and 
the subject was dropped. 

After that first house-warm- 
ing Long Combe went ahead, 
and during the spring and 
summer the gardens were put 
into order, the stables were 
rebuilt on modern lines, and 
before the autumn we heard 
that Howard had taken a good 
deal of shooting round about 
once, of course, part of the 
estate, but long ago sold and 
had got a nice lot of birds : 
at the same time he told us 
he'd taken the house on a ten 
years' lease. 

That season, what with 
shooting and hunting and al- 
most weekly dinners, we saw 
plenty of Long Combe and ita 
tenant and the more we saw 

of them the more we liked 
them both! I must say he 
was an extraordinarily gene- 
rous and hospitable man : this 
season he'd got some more 
horses, and was always giving 
people mounts. "It's a young 
*un," he'd say, "too hot for an 
old man like me; but if you 
don't mind a bit of rough- 
riding, it's really a kindness 
to me if you'd have a day on 
him : " and you'd find yourself 
enjoying a day on a tip-top 
horse with perfect manners. 
"Wish to goodness he'd buy 
the place," was what we all 
said and no wonder! 

Then the shooting there was 
great fun : he had old-fash- 
ioned ideas. " I'll see you have 
plenty to shoot, but bring your 
own sandwiches we don't 
waste time banqueting," was 
his invariable remark: and he 
never would have ladies out 
shooting. The parties were 
"men only," and we nearly 
always stayed the night, and 
shot on both days and there 
certainly was always plenty to 
shoot, and a cheery company. 

It was at one of these 
bachelor parties that the al- 
most forgotten subject of his 
precious whistle turned up 
again : it was a mere chance, 
just a turn in the conversa- 
tion, but it had rather sur- 
prising results, for it led Mr 
Howard to tell us a strange 
story, and began a fresh page 
in the history of Long Combe. 


It happened like this. Our as he had to interview the 
host had left us after dinner, keeper about the next day's 


The Whistle. 


programme, and we were sit- 
ting round the billiard - room 
fire, four of us, smoking and 
talking. The conversation 
drifted from subject to subject, 
until somehow I can't ex- 
actly remember how it settled 
on haunted houses and ghosts 
and all that sort of thing. We 
were swapping yarns, and I 
suppose telling the usual tall 
stories, when our host returned. 
"Well," he said, "what are all 
you fellows talking about ? " 
"As a matter of fact," I an- 
swered, "we were discussing 
family ghosts and spooks if 
you want to know." "Silly 
thing to talk about this time 
of night," said Howard ; " better 
try something else or you'll 
dream." " Yes, and we shan't 
hold straight to-morrow. Let's 
change the subject. It's your 
turn to talk now, and there's a 
yarn you've always promised 
us what about that blessed 
old whistle?" 

He looked at me, suddenly 
growing serious. " As it hap- 
pens, that wouldn't be changing 
the subject," he said quietly. 

"What d'you mean? Is it 
a ghost story? That sounds 
awfully mysterious, but you 
must tell us now you've roused 
our curiosity." 

"Do you really want to 
hear?" he said. "Well, I'll 
tell you I've always meant 

He sat down and looked into 
the heart of the fire for a 
moment, then he began, 

" I will try and tell you this 
story as briefly as possible," he 
said, "both because it's a long 
story and because well, it's the 
story of my life, and there are 

some things I'd like to leave 
out. I needn't start quite at 
the beginning, as that doesn't 
matter much, and my earliest 
recollections aren't very cheer- 
ful. My father died when I 
was about five I can't remem- 
ber much about him except 
that he must have left precious 
little for my mother and me. 
We lived in a North Country 
town, and there I went to the 
local school till I was fifteen, 
when a friend of my mother's 
managed somehow or other to 
smuggle me into a place in a 
shipping-office in Liverpool; I 
can't have been of much use, 
but I earned a little money and 
was not a dead-weight on my 
mother. As far as I knew 
then, we had no living relations 
at least, I never heard my 
mother speak of any till one 
day when we were talking 
about my father, she happened 
to mention that there was a 
cousin of his still alive, at least 
she believed so, 'an old miser 
with a big place in the South/ 
she said, ' but I have never 
seen him, and I don't suppose 
you will.' 

"However, I was soon to 
make his acquaintance, for, to 
cut a long story short, my 
mother got a letter one day in 
which the old man claimed us 
as his relations, and expressed 
a desire to see me ; in fact, I 
was invited to go down there. 

" Well, I went. And I shall 
never forget it. 

" It was a long train journey 
right down there from Liver- 
pool, and I remember wonder- 
ing all the way what he would 
be like, and feeling very much 
alarmed at the prospect of 


The Whistle. 


visiting a big honse. I was 
only sixteen. I got to the end 
of my journey at last, and was 
driven up in a ramshackle cart 
and set down before the door 
of my kinsman's house. I was 
rather surprised to notice that 
apparently I was not expected. 
I had to hammer on the door 
before at last it was opened by 
an old woman, and I was ush- 
ered into a great hall scarcely 
lit by the two candles that 
stood on the chimney-piece. 
But I was far more surprised 
when I was introduced to my 
cousin. I found him sitting 
crouched over a fire, an old 
man with a long lean face, and 
it didn't take me long to see 
that he was pretty far gone. 
But he was worse than that : 
he was three parts mad. I 
won't bore you with his ram- 
blings and ravings : he began 
talking to me as if he had 
known me all my life, and 
before I had been there an 
hour I realised, almost with- 
out surprise, that I was his 
heir : that was the main part 
of his conversation, and he 
kept on repeating it, ' you can 
have it you can have it all ' ; 
but he spoke too in his wan- 
derings of some apparently 
unforgivable sin that he had 
committed, something that 
would be a ' curse on the 
place.' I couldn't make it 
out at all. It was an extra- 
ordinary situation. Here was 
I, an almost penniless boy out 
of a Liverpool office, summoned 
to the other end of England, 
and now talking to a poor old 
madman in a dressing-gown, 
who seemed to think I was his 
son, and told me quite as a 
matter of course that I was 

the heir to this great lonely 
house, and to the curse which 
he had brought upon it. 

" Well, as far as I remember, 
I slept all right that night, 
though I had felt rather lost 
and lonely as I undressed in a 
vast cold room, and climbed 
into a bed as big as a waggon. 
It was bright daylight when I 
awoke, and I saw by my watch 
that it was half-past eight. 
No one had called me, and I 
was evidently expected to shift 
for myself, so I dressed and 
went downstairs, and set to 
work to try and find the room 
where we had sat the night 
before. It was at the end of 
what seemed interminable pas- 
sages, narrow panelled warrens 
in the old part of the house, 
and I don't know how I found 
it : however, I did at last, as I 
recognised the three shallow 
stairs which led up to the door 
I had tripped over them the 
previous evening. There was 
no one in the room : in front 
of the grate, still full of ashes, 
was the old man's empty chair, 
and his rug lying on the floor 
Reside it. I rather wondered 
what my next move should be, 
and decided on a pull at the 
bell. After about ten minutes 
the old woman appeared, and 
I asked for breakfast. 'The 
Master's bad to-day,' she said, 
1 come along to the kitchen 
and I'll give you something : ' 
so I followed her, and in due 
course ate my breakfast off a 
chipped plate at the kitchen 
table it struck me as a queer 
way of doing things in a big 
house : but after all the whole 
adventure was so surprising 
that I hardly knew what to 
expect next. Breakfast fin- 


The Whistle. 


ished, I was told that 'The 
Master' wouldn't be up to- 
day, but that I oould go out 
and have a look round the 
place I might have a sand- 
wich in my pocket : evidently 
I wasn't wanted about the 
house ! 

"You may be sure that it 
was with some interest and 
excitement that I went out 
that morning with a feeling 
that I was, as it were, explor- 
ing my new kingdom. But I 
found it hard to realise that 
all this the great house, the 
garden, the Park, and for all I 
knew more besides was really 
going to be mine. I puzzled 
over it as I walked how 
were these things arranged? 
Wouldn't there have to be 
papers signed, and lawyers 
and I should have to see my 
cousin again and find out 
more : but how was I going to 
see him if he was ill? and I 
wanted to go back to Liver- 
pool the next day: it would 
be extraordinarily hard to 
take possession of a kingdom 
in two nights and a day I 

"It was with such thoughts 
as these that I wandered 
round the garden, down the 
terraces, over lawns, through 
walks, so that I thought I 
should never come to the end 
of it; then from the garden 
I went into the Park, and 
there I think I spent most of 
the day wandering about, now 
wondering at the beauty of it 
all, now puzzling over the ex- 
traordinary adventure that had 
suddenly befallen me. 
"I have got no very clear 
recollection of what I did or 
where I went, but the winter 
evening was closing in when 

at last I got back to the house, 
and had my tea, like my break- 
fast, at the kitchen table. 

"After tea the old woman 
asked me if I'd like to go to 
the Master's room, and she 
piloted me back through the 
maze of passages to the little 
room at the top of the stairs. 
However, the Master was not 
there, and it was my turn 
now to sit in the tall chair 
and cower over the fire. Going 
over the day again in my mind, 
the time slipped by without me 
noticing it, and at seven o'clock 
my supper was brought in; I 
had no idea it was so late. 
' Can I see the Master to- 
night?' I said to the woman. 
' No, you cannot,' she re- 
plied. 'I told you before 
he's bad to-day ; when you've 
eaten that, you'd best go to 
bed.' Queer hospitality was 
this, I thought, and besides, 
very inconvenient. I couldn't 
go the next day without seeing 
the old man ; it looked as if I 
should have to stay on, and I 
began to feel I didn't want to 
at all, the whole position was 
so grotesque and rather un- 
canny : however, in the mean- 
while, there was apparently 
nothing to be done till to- 
morrow, so I made the best 
of it. I ate my supper and 
sat over the fire for a bit, 
and then, beginning to feel 
sleepy, I thought I would take 
the housekeeper's advice and 
go to bed. The supper was 
still on the table and the 
lamp was alight, so I rang 
the bell, thinking she would 
want to come in and clear 
up. But she was a long time 
in coming, and I didn't see 
why I should wait for her; 


The Whistle. 


so turning the lamp down 
and leaving the door open, 
I set off down the passage 
by the light of the open door. 

"I didn't go far. As I 
rounded the corner of the 
passage I distinctly heard the 
sound of voices. I stopped 
and listened; the house had 
been extraordinarily still all 
the evening, and I knew there 
was nobody about, yet from 
out of the darkness ahead of 
me came a murmur not just 
the sound of two or three 
people talking, but the oon- 
fused murmur of many voices 
rising and falling in the dark- 

"Have you ever felt your 
hair rise with horror? Well, 
mine did then. I was fright- 
ened, but nothing to what I 
was a moment later. As I 
stood there listening to the 
voices with my hand against 
the wooden panelling of the 
passage, the air was suddenly 
filled with a low booming 
sound. I felt the wood be- 
neath my hand vibrate, and 
then my ears were filled with 
the full thundering bass of 
organ notes, which swelled 
into a roar, seeming to shake 
the walls beside me. It was 
appalling. Before I had time 
to think I found myself back- 
ing slowly down the passage, 
while the notes of the organ 
sounded higher and sweeter as 
they broke into a dirge -like 
music. I heard a sound as 
though many voices were 
chanting in some vast lofty 
building, yet I could touch 
the walls of the narrow pas- 
sage with both hands. 

"I remember trying to per- 
suade myself that it was some 

trick, some horrible joke; but 
I knew it wasn't. I knew all 
the time it was something 
worse, and my face was stream- 
ing with sweat. I backed 
down the passage till I felt 
my heels against the lowest 
of the three stairs; I simply 
couldn't go any farther. I 
sat down there on the stairs 
and waited, trembling like a 
leaf, staring into the gloom 
ahead of me, and praying 
that that awful organ would 

" It stopped suddenly, just as 
it had begun, and now I was 
listening to one voice the 
high-pitched quavering tones 
echoing as if it were speak- 
ing from a height above me 
under some gigantic sound- 
ing-board. The voice rolled 
and reverberated through the 
darkness ; the words, slow and 
reverent, dawned upon my 
consciousness they were Latin 
. . . And as they ended 
there was a silence, and then 
again a murmur of voices re- 
sponding. There was a scent 
of incense in the air which 
filled me with a sick giddi- 
ness. I was still sitting on 
the steps, still gazing into 
the darkness, seeing nothing, 
yet fascinated with a dread 
of some awful sight. I heard, 
and that was all; it was as 
though all my senses were 
concentrated in listening, and 
then I heard; again there 
was an echo, as in some vast 
and lofty hall footsteps com- 
ing towards me. In the dis- 
tance they paused, then came 
on again ; and I knew I could 
not bear it. Shivering there 
on the stairs, I hid my face 
in my hands and waited. I 


The Whistle. 


heard the footsteps oome on 
again on my right, beyond 
the passage wall, with a 
strange slither and rattle. 
They paused, and a voio 
said : ' Kise, and go rever- 
ently.' Then again the foot- 
steps proceeded, with their 
ghastly slither and click, a 
few paces; and then again I 
heard the voice in its sepul- 
ohral tones : ' Arise, and go 
reverently/ Again the same 
thing happened, the footsteps 
getting nearer and nearer. I 
cowered against the wall, my 
hands pressed tightly before my 
eyes. Then I knew they had 
reached me, and I heard the 
voice again. 'Why are you 
here?' it said; and for a mo- 
ment there was silence. 

"I think I tried to speak, 
to answer, to say something; 
but I was dumb dumb with 
terror. And even as I strug- 
gled with the feeling of horror, 
of impotence and despair, a 
grip of icy steel closed round 
my wrists, dragging my hands 
from my face. 

" My God ! I didn't dare look 
I didn't dare open my eyes ! 
but with a cry I threw myself 
upon the unseen horror in 
front of me. Then I fought 
as no man ever fought in his 
life before. I fought for life 
and reason against the powers 
of darkness. I felt myself 
grasped round the shoulders 
as if in a band of iron: I 
rooked and swayed from side 
to side, clawing and tearing 
with my fingers, striving to 
free myself from the ghastly 
embrace, sobbing for breath 
in the heavy tainted air. My 
last recollections are of the 
vice-like grip tightening round 

me, my breath rattling in my 
throat and a deadly, sickly 


" I suppose I must have done 
the conventional thing and 
fainted. The next thing I 
remember is standing in the 
dusty passage with the pale 
light of the winter's morning 
coming through the open door 
behind me. For a few minutes 
my mind was an absolute 
blank. I couldn't think where 
I was, or what I had been 
doing ; and then I felt that I 
was grasping something in my 
left hand. I opened it, and 
there in my open palm lay a 
little bone, dry and hollow and 
polished a man's finger-bone. 
Good Lord ! I remembered 

He was silent a moment, 
and I noticed for the first time 
that his face looked drawn and 
old as he sat there hunched 
forward in his chair with his 
thin hands clasped round his 
knees ; then he went on 

"My hair's white now, 
isn't it ? Well, it was as white 
as it is now that morning forty 
years ago when I stood in the 
passage looking down at the 
object in my hand. I remem- 
bered it all suddenly, and 
as suddenly horror and sick- 
ness and sheer panic seized me. 
I didn't stop long. In a minute 
I was through the passage, 
through the great hall, out of 
the door, and running for my 
life for the gates and the open 
road beyond, with no thought 
in my mind except to get away 
to get away and never come 

"I can recollect nothing of 
that mad flight it's all an ab- 


solute blank I suppose I really 
was unconscious ; the first 
thing I remember was finding 
myself in a railway carriage 
with a big blue-coated man in 
the doorway asking me for my 
ticket. Of course I hadn't got 
one, but mechanically I drew a 
sovereign out of my waistcoat 
pocket. * Where d'you. want 
to go to?' he said. I didn't 
know; I asked him how far 
the train went, and when he 
told me Bristol, I booked to 
there. I forgot Liverpool, I 
forgot my mother, I forgot 
everything except that the 
train was taking me far away 
away from that place of horror. 

"I've a hazy recollection of 
the long journey mainly of 
passing through the tunnels, 
when I cowered in my corner and 
prayed again for deliverance ; 
and I remember a great noisy 
station and streets I suppose 
Bristol ; and how I found com- 
fort in following people about 
in the broad daylight good, 
solid, tangible people with kind 
faces. I was practically off 
my head. 

" How long I wandered like 
that I don't know, but some 
time in the evening I found my 
way to the docks. I wondered 
how I could face another night ; 
I could feel the horror gradu- 
ally closing over my mind again, 
and I felt I must escape any- 
thing to escape; nothing else 

" I was standing on the edge 
of a quay looking down at the 
oily water below and just mak- 
ing up my mind for the jump, 
when a voice behind me spoke : 
'Don't stand there, matey,' it 
aid ,' come into the warm and 
have something.' s I can hear 

The Whistle. [March 

that voice still and see the 
speaker a little pale - faced 
man with a scar on his chin 
as he took me by the arm and 
led me off. And I shall never 
forget, either, the comfort of 
the blazing gas and the warmth 
and the sound of voices in the 
drink-shop, and the sting of 
the cheap whisky. But that's 
about all I do remember, and I 
never saw my unknown bene- 
factor again; he certainly 
didn't know he was doing me a 
good turn. . . . 

"I woke up to find myself 
lying on my back with a dirty 
blanket over my mouth and a 
wooden plank a foot above my 
head. I couldn't move my 
arms, I was wedged into a 
narrow thing like a coffin with 
a wall on my right. I turned 
my head slowly to the left ; it 
was a queer place I was in ; I 
wondered why the wall oppo- 
site curved and sloped upwards, 
and what the sound of running 
water was. And then it dawned 
slowly on me I was on board 
ship. Opposite, across the 
gangway, a man sat on a locker 
cutting tobacco. 'Where am 
I ? ' I said to him. ' What am 
I doing here?' 'Dunno, 
mate,' he answered ; ' ask me 
another ; you come aboard last 
night carried aboard, drunk 
as a lord ; anything wrong ? ' 
' But I don't know anything 
about it,' I said 'I'm not a 
sailor.' He put down his to- 
bacco and broke into a wheezy 
laugh. 'Oh,' he chuckled, 
' caught young, was yer ? ' and 
he spat; ' same as me Shang- 

"Yes, I had been Shang- 
haied. My friend with the 
soar on his chin had done 


The Whistle. 


the triok well. Liquored me 
up and got me aboard, and 
here I was one of the orew of 
the s.s. Cardiff City, nearly two 
days out from Bristol, and 
bound for Aden with a cargo 
of ooal. 

"I think my first sensation 
was one of immense relief 
feeling that I was free, had 
escaped. But then I thought 
of my mother, and realised 
what I had done, I had left 
her, left everything, and run 
away what would she think 
had become of me? How 
should I explain my extra- 
ordinary conduct? 

" They worked me hard those 
first days, and I hadn't too 
much time to 'think: but the 
more I realised what I had 
done the more of a coward I 
felt. I began to be able to 
think of that awful night in 
the lonely house, to go over it 
carefully in my mind. Had it 
been a ghost? what had I 
seen? Nothing. I had heard 
things, and I thought I could 
remember that struggle in the 
passage: but mightn't it have 
been a dream, a real bad night- 
mare ? I must have been tired, 
I was certainly excited. I was 
unsettled by the whole strange 
adventure, and I had been 
alone in the house: nothing 
more natural but that I should 
have dreamed, and the more 
I argued it over with myself, 
the more I considered the 
strange fact that I had seen 
nothing, the more I came to 
the conclusion that it had been 
an hallucination. And what 
had I done? In a sudden fit 
of panic, frightened like a child 
at a bad dream, I had played 
the coward: I had left my 

mother and my home and my 
work, I had left the great in- 
heritance that had suddenly 
become mine, all for nothing ; 
and here I was, odd boy on a 
dirty collier in the Bay of 
Biscay, without a home, with- 
out any clothes but those I 
stood in, and without a penny 
in the world and I was a 

"However, [I had forgotten 
one thing. I think it was on 
the afternoon of the fourth 
day out, I was leaning against 
the engine-room hatch arguing 
the whole thing out for the 
hundredth time, till my head 
went round and I felt I should 
go mad; then as I sat there 
and thought, I happened to 
put my hand into the side- 
pocket of my coat, and I felt 
something there and pulled it 
out it was the little bone. 
For the second time there it 
lay in my palm, hollow, pol- 
ished, light as a feather : that 
brought me up with a jerk. 

"Why didn't I throw the 
ghastly thing away? Why 
didn't I fling it from me into 
the sea and never look at it 
again? Well, I hardly know, 
but I didn't. 

" You see, I felt it proved one 
or two things: it proved that 
I had not run away from a 
dream; it proved that I had 
really heard those slithering, 
clicking footsteps; it proved 
that I had really struggled 
with something that night, and 
had suffered and sobbed in 
that horrible embrace. It had 
really happened, and my an- 
tagonist had left this ghastly 
relic in my hand. 

" At least, I know it was this 
thought that though I shud- 


The Whistle. 


dered as I looked at it lying 
there in my hand kept me 
from throwing it from me. It 
was a strange discovery. My 
next feeling was one of relief; 
if the happenings of that night 
had really taken place, as I 
was now persuaded they had, 
I thanked God that I had 
run away; I was no longer 
ashamed. Every beat of the 
screw, every mile we traversed, 
made me happier, freer. 

" Looking back on it all after- 
wards, I could see that this 
strange discovery, this strange 
realisation, saved my reason 
and saved my self - respect 
gave my whole life a new 
aspect. My mother well, I 
could write and try and ex- 
plain to her ; and for the rest, 
I was glad to have left Eng- 
land behind me, and the al- 
most irresistible temptation, 
which I felt I should have 
suffered, of revisiting the 
house which held such promises 
for me and such unutterable 
horrors. And I replaced the 
bone, the skeleton's finger- 
bone, in my pocket. 

"I don't think I need de- 
scribe to you my life aboard 
that collier ; it was uneventful 
enough a chronicle of bad 
weather, bad food, bad quar- 
ters, and hard work: the last 
was probably the best thing 
for me. I had no adventures : 
we called at Marseilles, had 
awful weather in the Gulf of 
Lyons, a smooth passage to 
Malta, then more bad weather 
again, till at last one morning 
in December we reached Port 
Said. Here the ship was held 
up for a couple of days, and for 
the first time since that night 
in Bristol I went ashore. 

"Port Said was a different 
place in those days; it's no 
paradise now, but it was hell 
then a dirty, stinking vil- 
lage, the dregs of the East 
and the dregs of the West. 
It didn't take me long to find 
out that my shipmates' tastes 
and mine were not the same. 
I left them pretty soon, and 
wandered off on my own to 
find the post-office, as I wanted 
to post a letter I had written 
to my mother. In the letter 
I had explained my strange 
behaviour as best I could. I 
told of my reception by the 
old cousin, and what he'd said 
about making me his heir, 
and I gave her an account 
a garbled affair, I'm afraid 
of that awful night, and how 
I'd run away, and how it was 
through no fault of my own 
that I had gone to sea. But 
I told her that I thought a 
change would do me good 
for a bit after all I'd gone 
through, and that I proposed, 
if she didn't mind, to stay 
abroad for the next six months. 
I gave my address 0/0 the 
owners in Calcutta, and asked 
her to be sure and write. 

"Having posted this letter, 
I wandered along the front 
where the big hotel stands 
now, and found plenty to in- 
terest me in the strange faces 
and strange colours new to my 

" There was a big troop-ship 
waiting to go through the 
canal, and as I stood there 
some boats came off from her 
full of officers and their ladies. 
I watched them land, and for 
some reason followed them at 
a distance. Presently I saw 
them stop in a little knot 


The Whistle. 


under a tree; they were all 
standing round something, 
laughing and talking. I 
strolled up to the group : in 
the middle of an interested 
oirole squatted a seedy-looking 
Indian, who was offering to 
tell the fortunes of the rather 
reluctant spectators. Some- 
how or other he happened to 
catch sight of me on the out- 
skirts of the erowd. I tried 
not to catch his eye, but it was 
too late; he stood up, 'Come, 
sahib, come, sahib, I tell your 
fortune,' he said, and the 
whole crowd turned and stared 
at me. They seemed amused 
for some reason or other, and 
a titter ran round the circle : 
I suppose I must have looked 
as silly as I felt, for a young 
fellow, very smart in a white 
topee, turned to me with a 
kind smile: 'Go on,' he said, 
'go on, lad, and have your 
fortune told, and 111 stand it 
you ' and he tossed the 
Indian half-a-orown. Before 
I realised what I was doing I 
found myself in the centre of 
the circle, confronted by the 
fortune-teller. ' Give me some- 
thing, sahib,' he said * any- 
thing you wear, your knife 
will do.' I knew I hadn't got 
a knife on me, but I put my 
hand in my pocket and pulled 
out the only thing there; it 
was the bone. I handed it 
to him. 'You always carry 
this?' he asked. I nodded, 
and he squatted down on the 
ground, holding the bone in 
his hand. He sat there for a 
minute staring at it, and then 
rose slowly to his feet and 
looked at me. 'It is good 
luok, sahib,' he said 'good 
luck, and happiness, and 

riches.' He paused, and then 
putting his finger against one 
end of the bone he blew a 
short sharp whistle. 'Hear,' 
he said, ' hear, sahib ! that 
shall call you home to for- 
tune.' There was a roar of 
laughter from the crowd as I 
pocketed the bone and hurried 

" That night as I lay in my 
narrow bunk I went over the 
scene in my mind again and 
again, repeating the fortune- 
teller's words : I suppose I was 
an imaginative sort of lad, and 
the whole thing had impressed 
me rather. He'd seemed so 
certain of it all; he'd spoken 
with such authority, rolling 
his queer dark eyes at me 
and then that sharp whistle ! 
I couldn't get the sound of it 
out of my ears ! 

"Next day as we passed 
slowly down the Canal I had 
plenty of time to think. I 
pulled the bone out of my 
pocket and stared at it, and 
wondered could it be possible 
that it should bring me luck ? 
Could there be some kind of 
compensating justice, so that, 
after having brought me to 
such misery at home and 
parted me from all I loved, it 
should bring me fortune in 
other lands? Then I remem- 
bered how the Hindoo had 
said, 'It shall call you home.' 
I didn't think I could bring 
myself to touch the thing with 
my lips, but the memory of 
that curlew-like whistle fasci- 
nated me. I wondered if I 
could do it, and after hesitat- 
ing for a long time I plucked 
up courage, and putting my 
finger over the base of the 
bone, I blew sharply across 


The Whistle. 


the open end : there sounded a 
shrill piercing whistle. 

"I was standing on deck at 
the time, just forward of the 
bridge. The sound of this 
whistle had scarcely died away 
when I heard a voiee above me 
shouting 'Port your helm 
hard a-port,' and the engine- 
room telegraph clanged be- 
low. The ship swung off and 
slowed down. Then I heard 
the same voice cursing the 
pilot, 'What the hell are 
you aiming for Africa ? We'd 
'a been on the mud that time 
but for that whistle. Who 
blew that whistle?' 

"You see, it was the early 
days of the Canal then, and 
the channel was often ob- 
structed siltage or what not ; 
and it was particularly bad 
through the Bitter Lakes. 
Well, that was where we 
were; and it happened that 
we had been making straight 
for a mud-bank when know- 
ing nothing about it, of course 
I blew that blast and unin- 
tentionally gave the alarm and 
saved the ship. 

"The Master treated me well 
over this: said he wouldn't 
forget it, and would see the 
owners heard of it, and a 
good deal more besides. But 
it wasn't that that counted ; 
no it was that my good luck 
had begun, that the fortune- 
teller had been right. Nothing 
would persuade me from it 
now: this had been no co- 

" I well remember standing on 
deck that evening looking out 
over the desert. As I watched, 
the setting sun lit up those 
cliffs away on the right the 
Abu Darraj I think they call 

them touching them with 
wonderful colours, amber and 
gold and sapphire ; and as I 
looked I felt that the gor- 
geous sight was a happy 
omen an augury of good 
fortune in the East. 

"As soon as we reached 
Calcutta I got paid off. With 
my wages in my pocket and 
twenty pounds besides a re- 
ward for the affair in the 
Canal I felt rich; but I was 
rather at a loss to know what 
to do next. It was in Cal- 
cutta that I came very near 
to losing my precious talisman, 
for so I regarded it now, 
and I think it was this that 
first gave me the idea of 
having the bone turned into 
a real whistle, so that I could 
wear it on a lanyard. So I 
took it to a native workman 
in a bazaar, and he very soon 
rigged it up for me: that 
done, I somehow began to 
think that things would begin 
to move ; and sure enough 
they did. A few days later 
I shipped on board a vessel 
bound for Rangoon ; from Ran- 
goon I went down the coast 
on another ship to Singapore, 
and it was there, in the 
Sailors' Home, that I got my 
first news of England. I was 
turning over an English paper 
when a familiar name caught 
my eye the name of the 
house from which I had 
run that early morning four 
months ago, and the name of 
my old cousin. It said little 
enough about him except that 
he was dead, but it gave a 
long history and description 
of the house; and then, quite 
at the end of the paragraph, 
mentioned that the estate 


The Whistle. 


passed ' to a Mr James 
Howard, a distant relation.' 

" I think it took me a minute 
or two to realise that this re- 
ferred to me. However, it was 
plain enough that it did 
there was my name in black 
and white; and here was the 
owner of the name, sitting in 
a dingy room in the Sailors' 
Home at Singapore, wonder- 
ing what he should do next. 

" It seemed as if there wasn't 
muoh to be done. There being 
no money, it was obvious I 
couldn't live there if I wanted 
to though, of course, nothing 
would have induced me to, 
and I wasn't going back to 
England just to look at the 
place and sign a lot of papers. 
I felt then that I never 
wanted to see the house 
again, and I determined to 
let my affairs take care of 
themselves. I wouldn't go 
home for the sake of my in- 

" However, a few weeks later 
a letter arrived from my mother 
the first I had got which 
rather modified my decision on 
this score. The beginning of 
the letter was taken up with 
expressions of anxiety as to 
my health, whereabouts, and 
state of mind, with assurances 
of her sympathy and under- 
standing, and that sort of 
thing; and then she went on 
to tell me some of the news I 
had already gleaned from the 
paper. The old man had, it 
appeared, written to her after 
my sudden departure, merely 
saying that he had seen me 
and liked me, and decided to 
leave his property to me as the 
last of the family nothing 
more. Three weeks afterwards 

he was found dead in bed, and 
on the examination of his will 
and various other documents, it 
was discovered that he'd been as 
good as his word, and left the 
house and park to me. My 
mother had seen the solicitors, 
had found that there was no 
money, and had then and there 
made arrangements for the 
house to be let, though how it 
was all fixed up I don't know. 
But she ended her letter by 
saying that as I had been away 
six months now, and in view of 
the change in my prospects, 
she hoped I would give up the 
rough life I was leading and 
come home. 

" After reading her letter, I 
felt that I ought to fall in with 
her wishes ; but that was easier 
said than done, and I couldn't 
get out of the job I was then do- 
ing at very short notice : in the 
end it was a full month before 
I was ready. And then at the 
last moment my plans were 
changed. The day before I 
was due to sail for England, I 
got a letter to say that my 
mother was dead. 

"As I said, that changed 
my plans ; there was noth- 
ing to go home for now; as 
for my property, the very 
thought of it made me sick. 
I felt that I couldn't face 

" Well, I had come East, and 
I stayed East nearly forty 

"At first, quite at first, 
things didn't go well ; for the 
next six months (after I had 
heard of my mother's death) I 
hung about doing odd jobs here 
and there, and that's no life 
for an Englishman in the East. 
Then I got a berth aboard 


The Whistle. 


a small vessel in the coast- 
ing trade, running to Borneo 
and Labuan ; but somehow I 
couldn't do right, and I got 
the sack pretty soon. Life 
looked bad for me in those 
days, and I shan't forget it, 
and I shan't forget what put 
it right either. It was the 
afternoon of the day I got the 
sack from the coaster I men- 
tioned. I was walking down 
the middle of the street, and it 
was blazing hot, so I stepped 
under a tree for a bit of a rest. 
As I leant up against the tree 
trunk I heard something in 
the branches above me, and 
looking up I saw a bird with a 
long beak : I must have fright- 
ened it, for it gave a piping 
whistle and flew off. That 
bird's note did the trick ! Why ? 
Why, because it reminded me 
of my blessed whistle, and I 
realised all of a sudden that 
I hadn't worn the thing for 

"I just stopped for a minute 
to think what an infernal fool 
I'd been, and then I turned 
round and walked straight 
back down the middle of that 
blazing road, with my headwp 
this time straight back to the 
quay where my chest had been 
dumped that morning when I 
got the sack off the ship. I 
knelt down, unlocked my chest, 
and took the whistle out; then 
I went straight off down town 
and applied for a clerk's job, 
which I knew was open at a 
big merchant's. I knew I 
should get the job, and sure 
enough I did. 

" Well, from that very day I 
went ahead and never looked 
back: I climbed all the time. 
One job led to another, first 

as a clerk in the office, then 
running a tobacco plantation 
in Borneo one of the first ; 
then in the sago trade; then 
travelling inspector of my 
firm's interests in Borneo, 
Labuan, and the Celebes; fin- 
ally, twenty -five years later, 
partner in the business. Nearly 
forty years in the East, one 
rise after another; one stroke 
of good luck after another, and 
finally a fortune. It's a long 
story, and there are many ad- 
ventures queer things I've 
seen and queer things I've 
done; it's altogether too long 
a story : but day and night 
for those forty years that little 
whistle was my companion : 
time and again it helped me 
and in the end it called me 
home to happiness. 

" When I'd made my pile two 
years ago I retired and came 
home to England: rightly or 
wrongly I felt that under the 
mysterious influence of my 
talisman I had made my for- 
tune, and something forced me 
to put it to this last test. It 
had brought me fortune ; could 
it bring me home and happi- 

" During my years of exile I 
had got almost completely out 
of touch with England, the 
only communications I ever 
had from home were business 
letters from the estate's agents 
about the house. I think 
perhaps it was because of this 
because, I mean, the house 
had as it were served as my 
only link with the home coun- 
try that I had come by 
degrees to look upon it with 
something nearer to affection 
and sentiment than I had ever 
thought possible. But of course 

1918.] The Whistle. 321 

I knew little about it ; the those horrible memories that I 

letters told me that it was let had once connected with the 

or that it was empty and gen- place ; and then suddenly, as 

erally mentioned that it was I stood before the house that 

urgently in need of repairs. I summer afternoon, they came 

had tried to sell it, but it was upon me again with alJ their 

unsaleable : I didn't much care old strength, in all their ghastly 

one way or the other except, horror. I simply felt I couldn't 

as I say, it had served as a face it. 
link. " And then quickly following 

" When I landed in England on that feeling came another 

eighteen months ago I was to a feeling that I would face 

all intents and purposes in a it, a determination not to be 

foreign country ; I didn't know beaten, not to give up. I 

the ways of the people, I didn't meant to make that house my 

know the lie of the land, I home, to restore its ruined 

hadn't got a single acquaint- beauty, to build up the old 

anoe, but I had to go to Lon- place again. I resolved there 

don on business, and I thought and then that this should be 

I might as well make a start the object of my life, 
there as anywhere. Affairs " I won't make a mystery of 

connected with my firm took it any longer I expect you've 

up two or three days, and then guessed it already ; I am old 

I determined to go round to Sir John's heir, and Long 

my solicitors and find out Combe was the object of my 

something definite about my ambitions, 
property. " Well, you know most of the 

" I suppose it was a queer story, but some of it you don't 

casual way of doing things ; know. I travelled back to 

anyway they didn't seem too London that evening deter- 

ready to believe my story, and mined to carry out the resolve 

I had some trouble in estab- that I had made as I stood 

lishing my identity. But that there before the house, but I 

once accomplished, they were knew there were difficulties. 

civil enough, and gave me full I realised that it might be 

information: they told me, impossible. You see, I had 

what I already knew, that the understood for the first time 

house had been unlet for sev- that afternoon that expression 

eral years, and was in a very used by Sir John forty years 

bad state; but when I asked before when he had mumbled 

them how much they oonsid- about there being * a curse on 

ered it would cost to put it the place.' The place oer- 

right, they advised me to go tainly looked as if it were 

down and have a look round under some evil influence, 

myself. So the next day I the garden overgrown and 

went. rank, the exterior of the house 

" It's a queer thing, but I weather - stained and dilapi- 
think, for the last twenty dated a general look of cheer- 
years at least, I had forgotten lessnesa everywhere. 



The Whistle. 


" But it wasn't enly that. I 
had gone into the house, and 
there it wasn't so much what I 
saw that mattered ; it was what 
I felt. I don't think I oan ex- 
plain it in words, but I knew 
at onoe that there was some- 
thing wrong. I felt the pres- 
ence of evil everywhere, all 
round me, and I understood 
beyond all doubt that what- 
ever it was I had seen that 
night forty years ago still 
had power over the house 
or over me; and I had 
to settle with that before 
Long Combe oould be my 

" But I didn't want any one 
to know my secret, and I 
wasn't going to take any 

" I oame down from London 
for the day several times, to 
learn my way about and to 
get to know something of the 
neighbourhood; I wanted to 
know what the people who 
lived round about were like, 
and what sort of chances 
I should stand as a new- 

" Then in the autumn I took 
rooms in the inn at Combe 
and got to work. For the 
first month or two you didn't 
see much of me, and not much 
wonder, for I spent most of 
my time hidden away in Long 
Combe experimenting. Day 
after day I went out ostensibly 
for long walks, but really to 
slip by a back entrance into 
the house. But it was always 
the same ; wherever I went in 
the house there was that feel- 
ing of horror the feeling that 
seme invisible presence was 
always beside me. I tried day 
after day, and night after 

night, always with the same 
results, until I was nearly in 
despair and dreaded going 
near the place; and yet I 
couldn't bear the idea of giv- 
ing it up. 

"It was the beginning of 
November when my luck 
turned. I had grown tired of 
my idle brooding life, and feel- 
ing that I must do something 
active to keep sane, I bought a 
couple of horses. I knew I 
shouldn't disgrace myself by 
bad horsemanship, but I wasn't 
so sure how I should get on in 
the hunting-field. 

"Well, I think you will re- 
member the occasion the open- 
ing day when I holloaed the fox 
away on my whistle and we 
had such a good hunt. It was 
that that put new hope into 
me, and, what's more, gave me 
an idea. Suddenly it struck 
me as I rode home that evening 
that the little bone might hold 
the solution to the mystery. 
But how exactly I couldn't de- 
cide. I puzzled over it for 
weeks; I tried everything, I 
tried sounding my whistle 
in every room in the house, in 
every passage ; I sat on those 
same stairs all one night, hop- 
ing and fearing some strange 
explanation, but whether I 
wore the whistle or whether I 
didn't it was always the same ; 
I saw nothing, but I felt and 
knew it might all happen again. 
I was very near giving the 
problem up when I thought 
there was just one more thing 
to try. 

"The whistle was a man's 
bone, the finger-bone of a skele- 
ton. Did the thing with which 
I had fought that night long 
ago, which had left this relic 


The Whistle. 


in my grasp then, require its 
return ? It seemed an absurd 
idea, but I made up my mind 
to try it. 

"That night I took the 
whistle and left it on the 
stairs; the next morning it 
had gone. I have never seen 
it again. 

" I spent all the day in the 
house ; I wandered from oellar 
to atfeio, I sat in every room, I 
stood in every passage, and I 
was alone for the first time I 
felt alone; there was no one 
near me; there was no- 
body standing just behind me ; 
there was nothing lurking 
round the next corner, except 
for me the house was empty. 
That feeling of imminent un- 
seen danger had gone, and in 
its place there was a strange 
atmosphere of freshness, of 
awakening, such as meets one 
on an early morning walk in 
the country the scent of green 
things and the breath of the 
wind. I noticed for the first 
time a ray of golden sunlight 
in the dusty passages, and a 
thrush's song came floating in 
through the open window. 
There was no doubt about it 
that day, but I wasn't sure I 
had succeeded as yet. 

"I went there day after day, 
I wandered about there at 
night, in the house, in the 
garden, all round the place : 
noihing happened, and I be- 
came reassured. Then I lived 
in the house alone for three 
weeks. I had some bad mo- 
ments; one night when the 
wind boomed in the chimney 
I thought it was that cursed 
organ again, and I shall never 
forget how relieved I was when 
I found out it was only the 

wind : you see it meant a 
tremendous lot to me. 

"That three weeks' trial 
pretty well decided me, so I let 
out that I had taken the house 
for a year. But it took me a long 
time to be certain ; I had awful 
days and nights when I felt 
that the evil was only playing 
with me, and that when I was 
settled down here it would 
haunt me again; and there 
were times, too, when I felt 
that something must go wrong 
now that I had parted with 
my whistle. 

" But nothing went wrong. 
On the contrary, I was get- 
ting on extraordinarily well: 
I liked the country, I felt at 
home as I never expected to : 
you had all become good 
friends to me, and I realised, 
as I thought it all over, that 
I had the happiness that I had 
so long dreamed of waiting 
for me. 

" I realised this first, I think, 
that night when I gave the 
house-warming party. Then I 
went ahead : I knew I had won. 
There is not much more to 
tell you : you have heard this 
long strange story of mine, 
which must be hard enough 
for you to believe but you 
have seen Long Combe, dead 
these forty years, come to life 
again before your eyes. 

" I don't know if it'll remain 
alive, but I am pretty sure 
that it will, for I believe that 
fortune-teller under the tree 
at Port Said spoke the truth : 
you see I've made my money, 
I found my home, and now I 
have got happiness and those 
were the three things he pro- 
mised me." 





"Yau da gobe kayan Allah" "To-day and to-morrow are God's possession." 

Hausa Proverb. 

OUR oonoentration was com- 
plete. The last battalion of 
the Nigerian Brigade was 
moving into the camp. With 
many sighs and grunts the 
black soldiery threw off their 
equipment beside their piled 
arms, and on the flanks of 
the companies the machine- 
gun teams wiped the dust 
of the road from their guns. 
A little apart stood a group 
of officers picking out their 
loads, as a seemingly end- 
less string of carriers filed in 
with the battalion baggage. 
Beyond the fact that they had 
arrived in time for the much- 
talked - of General Offensive, 
they knew nothing of what 
part in the operations they 
were to take. No. 1 Company's 
Commander gave some orders 
to his subalterns, and strolled 
off to a neighbouring camp in 
search of food and enlighten- 
ment on the situation. In 
East Africa, where transport 
so often failed and orders were 
cancelled as soon as issued, 
both food and enlightenment 
were sometimes hard enough 
to come by. Our Company 
Commander returned with a 
modicum of vague information, 
and was eagerly questioned 
by his subalterns. 

"We are off again early 
to - morrow," he answered. 
"The Brigade is going some- 
where out into the blue to sit 

down on the Hun's line of 
eommunioation. It is a matter 
of four days through the bush. 
In two days' time the other 
columns are to advance and 
push the enemy back on to us. 
Unless the Hun has suddenly 
become a very much greater 
fool than formerly, there is not 
much prospect of our getting 
behind him. There appear to 
be no maps, no transport, and 
no water, and the bush is 
crawling with Huns, who have 
got their tails up since the 
last show. Their main body 
is said to be shrieking defiance 
from prepared positions. It 
any way looks a little as if 
they meant to fight at last, so 
let us hope we shall give them 
a knock this time. If only we 
could get at the devils, and 

finish the show " He sighed, 

and sent an orderly to call the 
Company Sergeant-Major. 

In the company lines the 
Sergeant-Major was endeavour- 
ing to instil a little energy into 
his fellow black men. Half the 
company were falling in for 
water -fatigue, while the rest 
slunk off into the surrounding 
bush in search of sticks and 
grass to build a house for their 
officers. A band of martyrs 
going to the stake could hardly 
be a less cheerful spectacle than 
a company of tired black men 
falling in for fatigue. The 
Sergeant-Major, 1 who wore the 

1 In the subsequent action at Beho Chini the Sergeant-Major had his jaw 
blown away by one of the fiendish elephant rifles so often used by the Germans 
in East Africa. On admission to hospital, he much amazed the doctors by 
habitually smoking cigarettes through his nose. 


Beho Chini. 


African General Service Medal, 
was eminently soldierly in ap- 
pearance, and took a great 
pride in what he called his 
company. He was a Hausa- 
speaking native from the region 
of Lake Chad, where, by his 
own confession, he had spent 
the early and not least profit- 
able years of his life as a 
highwayman, armed with bow 
and poisoned arrows. With 
the advent of the British, he 
was compelled to change his 
ways, and judiciously elected 
to pursue the profession of 
arms in the highly respect- 
able ranks of the Nigeria 
Regiment. His ivory - black 
cheeks were grooved with the 
soars of his tribal marks, which 
radiated transversely from the 
corners of the mouth towards 
the ears. He wore the green 
cap of the W.A.F.F. soldier, 
a khaki blouse, shorts, puttees, 
and a pair of ammunition 
boots. Of these last he was 
intensely proud, for, with the 
exception of himself and the 
four sergeants of the company, 
no soldiers were allowed to 
wear boots. Earlier in the 
campaign a number of men 
were given service boots as 
an experiment; but as the 
black man's idea of a com- 
fortable boot is to have as 
large a size as possible, our 
men were very difficult to fit. 
To find a man wearing his 
boots on the wrong feet was 
not unusual, and his proud 
boast would be that he wore 
a larger size than the other 
men in his section. The ex- 
periment was not considered 
a success, and, except for the 
senior N.C.O.'s, sandals were 
given back to the men. Orig- 

inally a great deal of trouble 
was experienced in fitting out 
the Nigeria Regiment with the 
webbing equipment worn by 
Tommy Atkins. The adjust- 
ment of belts was the difficulty. 
The black man in barracks 
eats an enormous meal at 
midday. Owing to some ana- 
tomical irregularity this bulky 
meal subsequently protrudes 
prominently just where the 
belt is made to fasten. Those 
who are acquainted with the 
intricacies of webbing equip- 
ment will readily understand 
how this feature of the black 
man would throw the whole 
outfit out of gear. Thus 
between the morning and 
afternoon parades an elabo- 
rate adjustment became neces- 
sary, and it took some time 
for the men to master the 
intricacies of their new equip- 

The Sergeant -Major saluted, 
and his Company Commander 
proceeded to deliver in Hausa 
a version of the situation such 
as could be understood by 
the rank and file of the 

"To - morrow, Sergeant- 
Major," he began, "we all go 
to a big war. This country 
is not like the Big River, 
where we marched and starved, 
and the floods brought us 
sickness, and we found no 
Germans. The bush here is 
full of Germans, and with 
them we are going to have 
a big battle. To-morrow we 
march early and go a long, long 
way, and the road is without 
water. In the evening we 
shall come to a place where 
there is water. They say 
there are Germans at the 


Beho Chini. 


water-place. If it is so, we 
shall have to fight for our 
water. Therefore no man is 
to drink on the march. Tell 
the company that the man 
who drinks shall be beaten. 
If any man reports sick, he 
too shall be beaten. We have 
lost many men, and now every 
man must fight, for the bush 
is full of Germans." 

The Sergeant-Major beamed 
with approval, and cleared his 
throat before giving his own 
somewhat long-winded views 
on the situation. 

"It is good," he said, "for 
we have been in this country 
a long, long time, and it is a 
bad country. There is no food, 
and there are no women. 
Therefore we must kill all 
the Germans. When we have 
killed the last German, then 
shall we go back to our 
country and to our women. 
For months, as you yourself 
have said, we have marched 
and starved, and the Germans 
fled before us, so that we could 
not kill them. Now, you say, 
we have come to the place 
where all the Germans live, 
and we shall have a big battle. 
Some of our men will die, 
but that is a good thing. 
Unless some men die we shall 
go back to our country and 
our women will laugh and 
say, 'You went to a far, far 
country to kill Germans, but 
you found none.' It is for 
Allah to say who will die, and 
the greater the number that 
are killed the greater will be 
the glory of those who return 
to our country. We shall tell 
our women how many Germans 
we killed, and we shall become 
big men in our country." 

The Company Commander 
smiled approvingly, for he knew 
that black soldiers, like hounds, 
will not hunt without blood. 
Presently the Sergeant-Major 
returned, and proudly announc- 
ing that he had brought a 
present, produced a ram's horn 
strung on a leather thong. 

"I give you this," he said, 
"because it is great medicine. 
You will wear this round your 
neck, and when the Germans 
surround you you will seize a 
dead stick with your left hand, 
whereupon, so great is the 
power of my present, you will 
become invisible to your 

The Company Commander 
had already received charms 
of a similar nature, but they 
were merely supposed to render 
the wearer proof against bullets. 
Thus the man who wears a 
tiny piece of chain armour 
about his person is popularly 
supposed to be immune against 
machine-gun fire. The Com- 
pany Commander, however, 
thanked his Sergeant -Major, 
and, perhaps rather tactlessly, 
asked how it was a certain 
officer who was supposed to 
possess an exceptionally effica- 
cious charm had recently been 
killed. But the black man is 
not so easily to be caught out 
in his beliefs. 

"It was a truly wonderful 
thing," he explained with pro- 
found sincerity; "we marvelled 
that he died, for his was indeed 
a great charm. It can only be 
that the man who fired the 
shot which killed him must 
have had an even more wonder- 
ful medicine. That will never 
happen to you, for there can 
be no more powerful eharm 


Beho Chini. 


than this ram's horn which I 
have givenyou." The Sergeant- 
Major saluted and went away 
well satisfied, though he lived 
to be sadly disillusioned. 
In the chilly darkness of the 
following morning the company 
moved out as advance-guard to 
the column. No one likes 
advance - guard work in the 
bush. It is usually a matter 
of following a narrow track 
which threads its way through 
the eternal bush. The country 
never changes. The same trees 
and grass and undulations are 
repeated day after day, and 
one camp is so much like 
another that the memory fails 
to count the nights by which 
the march is measured. Here 
and there the bush varies in 
thickness, and with it the field 
of fire ranges from fifty up to 
not more than three hundred 
or four hundred yards. In 
every way the country lends 
itself to attack by ambush 
against troops on the march. 
Till roads can be out the bush 
forbids the use of any but 
human transport, and a column 
must move in single file with 
all its impedimenta carried on 
men's heads. The most elabo- 
rate precautions minimise the 
chance of surprise attack, but 
can never eliminate it. The 
defence of the column lies 
principally with the advance- 
guard. In front of everything 
comes a screen of scouts thrown 
out on either side of the road, 
and covering a broad front. 
The scouts are followed at an 
interval of three hundred to 
four hundred yards by a "point" 
of four men ; behind them comes 
a supporting section with a 

machine-gun, and out in the 
bush on each flank are two 
more sections all moving in 
single file. The density of the 
bush decides the distance these 
sections keep out, but no matter 
the character of the country, 
the flanking sections must keep 
pace with the section on the 
road, remaining as far out as 
possible. Occasionally detours 
must be made to avoid im- 
penetrable thorn, but at all 
costs they must keep in touch. 
Than to get "bushed" there 
is no greater sin. Behind the 
three sections moving abreast 
come the rest of the advance- 
guard company. At an interval 
of several hundred yards is the 
head of the main body, which 
may cover several miles of road. 
Besides the infantry battalions 
there is the battery with its 
guns carried in sections on 
men's heads. Behind comes the 
ammunition reserve, the field 
ambulances with a vast number 
of medical loads and the sick 
in hammocks, and then the 
baggage. Last of all come the 
Pioneer Company, who cut out 
the road as they advance so 
that the column maybe followed 
up and fed by the Mechanical 
Transport. To the rearguard 
falls much unpleasant work. 
No man may be left out in the 
bush; sick porters and their 
loads must all be got forward 
somehow. In such a column 
a large percentage of the men 
are unarmed carriers, and there 
is probably no more vulnerable 
thing in war than a large body 
of troops marching through the 
African bush. 

Thus we toiled through the 
day, and at every halt cursed 
the sun and the bush, for the 


Beho Chini. 


trees were without leaves and 
there was no shade. In the 
middle of the afternoon the 
oolumn oame to a sudden halt. 
The scouts reported a village 
and banana -trees ahead, so 
doubtless we had reached the 
water. The scouts crept for- 
ward cautiously, skirting the 
village to either flank, and 
from the depths of the bush 
watched for the slightest move- 
ment amongst the grass-roofed 
huts. Having satisfied himself 
that the village was deserted, 
the scout corporal posted a 
picket over the small and very 
muddy water -hole, and oame 
back to report all clear. The 
Company Commander reported 
to his C.O., and marvelled that 
for once the enemy had failed 
to picket the water. We were 
already on the flank of the 
enemy's positions, which lay 
half a day's march to the 
east, and the prospect of our 
enterprise being successful ap- 
peared more hopeful. 

The surrounding bush was 
picketed, and the column 
moved into the village, com- 
pressing its great length into 
a surprisingly small area. A 
perimeter trench was dug, 
fires were lit, and rations 
issued. The advance - guard 
company became the inlying 
picket, and the men rejoiced 
that for once they could sit 
idle and watch their fellow 
black men dig trenches. As 
darkness fell the fires were 
stamped out, and the snores 
and grunts of sleeping black 
men were punctuated by the 
dismal howl of the jackal and 
the fiendish shrieks of the 
hyena. Except for the relief 

of sentries, the camp was with- 
out movement. As the dark 
hours passed the air became 
damp and chilly. A man in 
the inlying picket got up and 
woke the two beside him. All 
three scratched themselves, 
grunted, and shook their blan- 
kets vigorously. The shrouded 
forms of their companions soon 
began to wriggle desperately, 
and one after another they got 
up, shook their blankets, and 
moved off in search of a 
better sleeping - place. Their 
officers lay a little apart, 
sheltered by a thick patch of 
bush; but they were not to 
be spared. The Company Com- 
mander was already dimly con- 
scious of intense discomfort. 
He scratched his neck, and a 
hard black object wriggled 
beneath his fingers; he found 
his hair was full of them. 
Waking his subalterns he 
dashed into the open. "Get 
outl" he cried; "the place is 
full of drivers." And as the 
horrible truth dawned, each 
fled from his blanket as a 
thing unclean. 

No mention is made of 
drivers as one of the plagues 
of Egypt, wherefore it may 
be deemed a favoured coun- 
try. Drivers or safari ants, 
as they are called in East 
Africa are large and black, 
and on their enormous plated 
heads they carry a formidable 
pair of nippers. Moving about 
the country in dense columns, 
they drive every living thing 
before them. The bites of 
half a dozen drivers are not 
usually sufficient to wake a 
sleeping man, so the unfortu- 
nate individual does not be- 


Beho Chini. 


oome conscious of his plight 
till his body swarms with 
these offensive pests. They 
are no respecter of persons, 
and hold nothing sacred. 
Should they incontinently en- 
ter the oouoh of the Governor 
of a Colony, His Excellency 
must needs retire with all 
possible grace till the invad- 
ing hordes have passed right 
through Government House. 

With daylight came the 
sound of distant gun fire, 
and the Mechanical Transport 
brought us three days' 

" Hope you found our road 
a]J right," said the Pioneer 
Officer as he met the sub- 
altern who had brought in 
the convoy. The latter asked 
What road? and talked of 
burst tyres and things left 
by the wayside. He regretted 
his rudeness when afterwards 
he learnt that the Pioneer 
Officer habitually sat down 
to a four -course dinner, and 
was the only man in the 
column who could afford to 
turn up his nose at the rum 
ration. The Pioneer Company 
lacked " establishment," where- 
fore the indent for its carriers 
was only limited by the per- 
sonal possessions and luxurious 
habits of its officers. As the 
M.T. Officer never came back, 
our limited supplies only per- 
mitted a further advance to 
be made with two battalions. 

Two evenings later we found 
ourselves at a place which our 
map called " Water by dig- 

"What about water?" 
shouted the Company Com- 

mander as the Adjutant 

" Company arrangements. 
Dig your own hole. It won't 
be more than twelve feet. No 
fires. No. 3 Company moves 
out to-night, and the rest of 
us at 4 A.M." 

We had but four miles to 
go before placing ourselves 
astride the enemy's road. 
News had been received that 
after heavy fighting the other 
columns had driven the enemy 
from their positions, and were 
advancing slowly. The at- 
mosphere of the camp had 
changed. We were now in 
the heart of the enemy's coun- 
try, and as yet, we believed, 
undiscovered ; but momentarily 
every officer feared a disclosure 
of our advance, and the conse- 
quent failure of our enterprise. 
Shortly after dark a bush fire 
burst into flame just outside 
the outpost line. That it was 
a signal to the enemy few of 
us doubted. A sentry fired, 
and all ears strained for the 
answering " pliok-plook " of a 
German bullet, but the silence 
was only broken by the crash 
of a frightened bush pig. 

Early the following morning 
we came up with No. 3 Com- 
pany at a village called Beho 
Chini, where they were already 
engaging an enemy patrol 
which was watching the water- 
hole. Beho Chini was a mere 
clearing in a belt of fairly 
thick bush. Besides a small 
water-hole, there were half a 
dozen tumble-down native huts 
amid the relics of former culti- 
vation, upon which the sur- 
rounding bush was fast en- 
croaching. No. 3 Company's 


Commander reported snipers in 
trees, and ordered his machine- 
guns to search the bush. A 
heavy object fell from a tree 
like a ripe apple, and the black 
gun teams laughed. The snip- 
ing ceased, and our column 
moved up into the clearing 
under cover of a screen of 
scouts. There was at first 
some doubt as to whether we 
were actually on the enemy's 
road. Beyond a well - worn 
bush path coming in from 
the east, there was no indi- 
cation that we had reached 
the place appointed. Orders 
were issued, however, for a 
perimeter trench to be dug, 
but at the same time we were 
given to understand that an 
immediate advance would prob- 
ably be made. In consequence 
of this, no great importance 
was attached to the digging 
of trenches, with the result 
that along the greater part 
of the line mere " scrapes " 
were made, and the defences 
throughout were f a most 
superficial nature. The area 
enclosed by the perimeter 
amounted to about twenty- 
five acres, thus giving an 
excessive length of trench to 
be defended by the thousand 
rifles, which was the total 
strength of the two battalions. 
Moreover, the ground being 
almost flat, there was no 
protection against reverse fire, 
and no cover within the peri- 
meter for the staff, medical 
sections, and camp-followers. 

An officer's patrol was or- 
dered to follow the path along 
which the enemy patrol had 
retired. Before he had gone 
400 yards the officer was fired 

Beho Chini. [March 

upon from what appeared to be 
a prepared position. The Gen- 
eral ordered two companies to 
attack and drive the enemy 
out. These orders were almost 
immediately cancelled owing 
to a most fortunate circum- 
stance. One of our aeroplanes 
made a sudden and very un- 
expected appearance. Flying 
low, it circled above our peri- 
meter and glided away in the 
direction of the enemy. It at 
once came under a very heavy 
fire. That the enemy were in 
greater strength than had 
been supposed now became 

The General at once ordered 
all baggage, officers' boys and 
other followers, to return to 
our camp of the previous night 
under a small escort. They 
left at once, but before going 
very far met two German 
white men wandering about 
the bush with sixty porters 
carrying ammunition without 
an escort. They were cap- 
tured by the officer in charge 
of our baggage without a shot 
being fired. He was prevented 
from reaching our former camp 
and had to return. Much of 
the captured ammunition was 
British, and if it had not been 
for this unexpected addition to 
our supply it is very doubtful 
whether many of us would 
have survived the ensuing ac- 
tion where the enemy drew off 
at the same time as our ammu- 
nition became all but exhausted. 

Meanwhile orders had been 
received to reconnoitre the 
enemy position. Our Company 
Commander called his subal- 
terns : " Come on, you fellows. 
We are for it this time. The 

1918.] Beho Chini. 

usual formation : scouts in 
front and a section in the bush 
on each flank, and for God's 
sake keep touch and watoh for 
signals. Keep in single file 
till you get orders. No. 3 Com- 
pany is coming out in support 
echeloned to our right rear." 
The sniping suddenly recom- 
menced, as if to remind us that 
the enemy were prepared, and 
that we had better be careful. 
As soon as the Company could 
get into the correct forma- 
tion the order to advance was 
given, and we dived into the 
bush. We had not gone more 
than two hundred yards when 
the bush echoed the fiendish 
strains of the enemy bugles 
always used to urge their 
men in an attack. We then 
saw a company of askari ad- 
vancing upon us, shoulder to 
shoulder, with their bayonets 
fixed. Their formation was 
opportune, for we at once 
brought four machine - guns 
into action. No. 3 Company 
also became engaged, and a hot 
fire fight developed. We after- 
wards learnt from prisoners 
that our assailants were the 
famous No. 17 Company of 
Sturmtruppen, who had been 
ordered to drive from the road 
a British patrol who were ob- 
structing the retirement of the 
German main body. The 
Sturmtruppen were rudely dis- 
illusioned, and from all accounts 
practically ceased to exist. 
They were supported, however, 
by the equally famous "W" 
Company, entirely recruited 
from the warlike Wangoni 
tribe, and, like No. 17 Com- 
pany, only used in the assault 
or in an emergency. From 


1.30 P.M. till 4 P.M. we held 
our ground, but by then our 
flanks were so much threat- 
ened by the reinforcements 
which the enemy had brought 
up in great numbers, that a 
retirement to our trench line 
became imperative, and was 
only now effected with some 

As the last of us reached the 
trench line, an old gun-carrier 
who had seen many years' ser- 
vice with the regiment dashed 
up to his Company Commander 
and said he must go back 
and fetch his gumo (a gumo is 
the straw pad which the Hausa 
carrier wears on his head when 
carrying a load). Now the 
gumo is entirely without value, 
and can be replaced at any 
moment; moreover, we were 
under a very heavy cross fire 
from the enemy's machine- 
guns which were covering 
their advancing askari. As 
illustrating the entire lack of 
imagination, which is not an 
unusual trait of the black man, 
the incident is not without 
interest. Having asked per- 
mission to go baok into the 
open for his wretched gumo, 
the carrier never waited for 
the inevitable refusal, but 
dashed back over the two 
hundred yards of open fire- 
swept zone, and returned safely. 
In an action the enlisted gun- 
carriers and stretcher-bearers 
usually shine forth as black 
men at their best. They rank 
below a private, and are looked 
down upon by the soldiers, and 
are therefore usually unspoilt. 
They are unarmed except for 
a matohett, and are seldom 
able to strike a blow for them- 


Beho Chini. 


selves, though a gun-oarrier 
has often been known to take 
up the rifle of a wounded man ; 
while in the open the carriers 
who were not filling belts 
dashed up and down the line, 
cheering on the men and dis- 
tributing ammunition. The 
stretcher-bearers walked about 
looking for wounded, as if in 
search of firewood around their 
peaceful native houses. 

By 5 P.M. the whole peri- 
meter was engaged, and a 
succession of very determined 
assaults were made on our 
weak and thinly held defences, 
which were now completely 
surrounded. All ranks were 
amazed by the gallantry dis- 
played by the enemy in these 
attacks. Both white men and 
black appeared to be entire- 
ly without fear, and charged 
repeatedly quite regardless 
of our machine - guns. The 
defenders were considerably 
handicapped by the bush, for 
in an attack it was sometimes 
impossible to see the enemy 
before they were within twenty 
yards of our trench line. The 
enemy bugles continued at 
frequent intervals to sound 
their discordant notes. The 
red flag of the German Com- 
mander could be seen bobbing 
about in the bush as he passed 
round our perimeter. He was 
either a very brave or very 
foolish man, for his flag un- 
doubtedly drew our fire. His 
appearance in the line seemed 
to signalise a determined 
attack. Our perimeter was 
actually entered by a small 
party of the enemy, but they 
were all killed or taken pris- 
oner. At one point six askari 

appeared close to our trenches, 
being flogged forward by a 
white Hun armed with a 
ballala. Elsewhere it seemed 
as if they needed little enough 
inducement to come forward. 
That most of the askari were 
" doped " is probable, for alco- 
hol was found in the water- 
bottles of the enemy dead and 
wounded. One of our ser- 
geants, seeing a small party 
of the enemy advancing to- 
wards him, became seized with 
a fanatical thirst for blood. 
Regardless of all orders and 
the conventions of war, he leapt 
from the trench line and hurled 
himself single-handed against 
the advancing askari. He 
eventually returned with three 
German rifles and a bayonet 
wound in the left arm. Our 
General, too, took an active 
part in the defence of a weakly 
held section of the line. He 
is popularly supposed to have 
led his staff into the trenches 
armed with a white sun um- 
brella in one hand and rifle in 
the other. 

We had already paid heavily 
for the inadequacy of our 
trenches. Being without para- 
dos, the troops in the firing 
line suffered considerably from 
reverse fire. During the action 
there was no opportunity of 
increasing the depth of our 
trenches, as every rifle was 
needed to repel the repeated 
attacks ; nor was it possible to 
relieve the congestion caused 
by dead and wounded men. 
The plight of the wounded 
who managed to reach the 
dressing -station, caused them 
to wish themselves back in the 
comparative safety of the 


Beho Chini. 


shallow trenches, for within 
the perimeter the almost level 
ground afforded no protection 
against fire, which came from 
every quarter. The medical 
section had to carry on their 
work without any cover at all. 
Some protection was afforded 
the wounded by placing the 
officers' baggage around them. 
The camp-followers developed 
an amazing capacity for bur- 
rowing, and with knives and 
hands they excavated most 
efficient dug-outs, and there 
they lay trembling lest the 
enemy should enter our peri- 

It was not long before press- 
ing messages were passed 
round the line to be sparing 
in the use of ammunition. 
These were repeated with 
great urgency, and still the 
enemy never wearied of suc- 
cessive attacks on our weakly 
held defences. Where it was 
of the utmost necessity to im- 
press on all ranks the vital 
importance of economising in 
ammunition, it was inevitable 
that the natural anxiety of the 
officers should, to some extent, 
communicate itself to the men. 
The black soldier in action is 
ever prodigal of ammunition, 
and will continue firing at 
nothing almost indefinitely. 
But on this occasion the fire 
discipline of our men could not 
have been bettered by white 
troops. By restricting the fire 
to volleys a great economy 
was effected, and, to the infin- 
ite credit of the black soldier, 
hardly a shot was fired with- 
out an order from a European. 
All ranks realised that with 
the exhaustion of our ammuni- 

tion the only appeal could be 
to oar bayonets, in which case 
there could no longer be any 
doubt as to the issue of this 
engagement, in which we were 
completely surrounded by the 
enemy. One of our Company 
Commanders led his men in a 
bayonet charge against the 
enemy. This bold and timely 
counter - attack probably did 
much to relieve the pressure 

At a little before 8 P.M., 
when only a few rounds per 
man remained, the enemy's 
fire slackened and subsequent- 
ly dwindled to promiscuous 
sniping, which we were for- 
tunately able to ignore. There 
was now time to take the 
ammunition off the dead and 
wounded and distribute our 
meagre supply evenly along 
the trench line. Meanwhile 
every man sat with his bayonet 
ready for the sudden rush 
which we felt would be at- 
tempted sooner or later. At 
about 10.30 P.M. the enemy 
again opened fire and made 
a determined attack on one 
portion of the line. They were 
driven off, and by midnight all 
was again quiet except for the 
fire of a few enemy snipers. 
Our conjecture that the last 
attack was made by a com- 
pany left behind to cover the 
retirement of the enemy main 
body was borne out by the 
faint sound of pick and shovel 
as they buried their dead, a 
proceeding to which they at- 
tached great importance. More 
gruesome still were the shrieks 
and groans of their wounded 
aakari being dragged out of 
action. To the Germans it 


Beho Chini. 


was of the utmost importance 
to retain as long as possible 
the services of their old sol- 
diers. To this end they evolved 
a marvellously efficient system 
by which they were able to 
evacuate their wounded during 
and after an action. These 
men would be hurried to one 
of their hospitals, there to be 
patched up with all speed, BO 
that no time might be lost in 
placing them once more in the 
field. It is hardly to be won- 
dered at that they suffered so 
much from the desertion of 
their askari. 

With the first rays of dawn 
came the weird sound of a 
cock crowing weird, because 
it was as unnatural as it was 
unexpected. We afterwards 
came to the conclusion that it 
was a signal for the few re- 
maining snipers to retire. At 
dawn patrols were pushed out 
and they reported all clear. 
The wounded men, whom we 
had had to leave in the open, 
were all dead, and of the enemy 
there seemed to be singularly 
few traces. A subsequent 
search disclosed many graves ; 
and a great number of dead 
and dying who had crawled 
away and hidden in the bush 
were afterwards found. 

The relief with which we 
learnt of the complete de- 
parture of the enemy can 
hardly be exaggerated, and 
we were now able to draw 
conclusions as to the net re- 
sult of our engagement. Our 
own casualties were not as 
heavy as we had anticipated, 
and were about half those that 
we calculated we must have 
inflicted on the enemy. Our 

own estimate of the enemy 
casualties was afterwards 
greatly increased by the In- 
telligence Department. We 
had undoubtedly accomplished 
the object for which we had 
been sent out ; and, moreover, 
this object had been achieved 
by a far smaller force than 
had been originally intended. 
The success with which we 
reached the enemy's line of 
communication was largely 
due to the unexpected failure 
of their intelligence, which 
usually served them so well. 
Moreover, we had arrived in 
time to intercept the retire- 
ment of their main body, on 
whom we inflicted such heavy 
losses that the resistance of 
the German northern forces 
was for ever broken. As some 
one aptly remarked during our 
subsequent advance : " We 
could not see their heels for 

No one was more conscious 
of our victory than the black 
soldier himself. His tail was 
indeed up, and he ever after 
talked with pride of this en- 
gagement. Our men certainly 
went into subsequent actions 
with a confidence which is not 
always a trait of the African 
soldier. If it did nothing else, 
Beho Chini at least taught the 
black soldier to dig. Hitherto 
he had resented the digging of 
trenches with an intense loath- 
ing, but his officers now had 
little need to preach the im- 
portance of well-dug trenches. 

At his dead the black man 
sighed, but remarked : " Ba 
komi; akwai Allah I"" That 
is nothing ; it is Allah ! " 






SUNDAY the 22nd of October 
1916 broke clear and bright 
after a terrible night of rain, 
thunder, and lightning. Those 
of us who had been up most of 
the night helping to pack and 
get the equipment off by train 
were glad of an unexpected 
rest. We had been told the 
evening before that everything 
must be packed and away, and 
we ourselves ready to start 
by 5 o'clock in the morning. 
The enemy was close at hand. 
As we packed in the dark out 
on our camping ground the 
guns seemed to come nearer 
and nearer : a red glow on the 
skyline, flashes from the big 
German cannons, burning vil- 
lages away in the distance, and 
an occasional flash of lightning, 
made up a weird scene a great 
contrast to our peaceful life of 
the last few weeks, where we 
had been so happy in our little 
camp on the Steep. The group 
of white tents standing above 
the town of Mejedia was a 
charming spot : one could see 
for miles and miles over hill and 
dale sunsets one can never for- 
get. And those of us whose 
work was out of doors watched 
every evening for the old Rou- 
manian shepherd as he led his 
flocks past down to the valley. 
Sitting on the steps of the 
hospital in the sunshine we 
discussed these things while 
looking over to ur camping 
ground, where two Roumanian 
gipsies were busy picking up 

the few things which had been 
overlooked while packing by 
the light of a few hurricane 
lanterns. Any one looking at 
us in a detached way might 
have thought we were really 
enjoying ourselves. Some were 
writing their diaries; some 
looking at films which they 
had been clever enough to have 
developed before the town was 
entirely evacuated ; others were 
trying to make out the bits in 
their home newspapers which 
had been smeared over with 
black by the censor; but the 
most popular amusements were 
listening to the war news from 
the Dobruja as reported in our 
English newspapers, and the 
cuttings about our noble selves 
which had been enclosed in the 
home letters. The guns were 
louder than ever, and we re- 
marked that the enemy must 
be practically in the garden by 
now, but no one seemed to be 
much disturbed by the fact. 
Some one even suggested that 
one of the more daring of our 
number should go over to a 
hill, from where the battle 
could be watched with a glass, 
and say, with the compliments 
of the Seottish women, would 
the Bulgar kindly make less 
noise, as Drlnglis was sleeping. 
This peaceful scene was dis- 
turbed, however, by an enemy 
aeroplane suddenly appearing. 
There was nothing new about 
that, of ourse ; aeroplanes had 
been daily visitors to the town 

336 The Dobruja Retreat. [March 

and to oar camp, and we kad meat, not a very quick oper- 
got quite used to bombs drop- ation when done with pooket- 
ping in our direction, some- knives. We made tea on a 
times stopping in our work to Tommy's Cooker, and sat on 
watoh a duel. Often the noise our bed hurdles to enjoy the 
was terrible when guns from last meal we might have for 
all the A.A.C. batteries were some time to oome. Our re- 
tiring at once, shells whistling past finished, many of us lay 
through the air and shrapnel down on a heap of straw 
falling on the roof of our tents, in a corner of one of the 

But this morning's visitor wards, we were very weary, 
seemed more interested in us having been up most of the 
than usual. We watched it at night, and I for one was 
first in a casual way running soon fast asleep. But not for 
out to see all there was to be long, as the Serbian doctor, 
seen; in a few minutes our who looked after everything 
friend was joined by other for us, rushed into the ward, 
two when they were right and in a mad tone of agita- 
overhead it seemed wiser to go tion, as if the enemy was at 
indoors and for ten hideous his heels, called to Dr Inglis, 
minutes, which seemed like who was writing letters in 
hours, the hospital was her usual undisturbed way 
bombed. Fortunately no harm " Come away oome away, 
was done. Russian and Rou- In five minutes you must be 
manian aeroplanes drove them out of here. Excuse, excuse." 
away, and we were able to go He always said this when ex- 
out and look round again. At cited, which was very often. 
11.30 an order came that ten Off he dashed again. A 
of the staff were to be off at motor -lorry was waiting at 
once, as a sanitary or hospital the door of the hospital to 
train was leaving in half an take the equipment for a 
hour for Galatz. We had small dressing station, which 
three or four invalids our Dr Inglis hoped to set up 
matron had been, and still was, at Caramurat. The lorry was 
very ill, so we were glad to driven by a native, who was 
think they were really being to lead the way. Besides the 
taken to a place of safety, equipment, seven orderlies 
We saw them leave the hos- were perched in perilous posi- 
pital, all saying good-bye as if tions wherever there was room, 
we were never to meet again, and a very jolly crowd they 
but wondering when and where looked as they waved to us on 
we would meet. starting. The staff oar fol- 

There were now 16 of us lowed with Dr Inglis and 

left, and nothing to do but three of the staff, driven by the 

wait for orders which would owner of the oar a splendid 

affect ourselves. To fill in the driver at any time, but quite 

time, and because we were very wonderful under the conditions 

hungry, we out up our last we were to encounter. Fol- 

blaok bread, and some cold lowing this oar came an am- 


The Dobruja Retreat. 


bulanoe with the remaining 
staff, and anything in the way 
of food which we had not given 
to those who went by train. 
I do not think any of us were 
sorry to leave Mejedia. It 
was a most deserted, miserable- 
looking place as we passed 
through the town ; except for 
soldiers tearing about in all 
directions we seemed to be 
the only people left. 

As the lorry swung round 
the first sharp corner after the 
hospital a stretcher dropped 
off. We stopped to pick it 
up, and by doing so lost 
sight of our guide. We did 
not know which turning he 
had taken, so we asked some 
soldiers, who pointed to a road 
which seemed very likely, and 
on we went. At first it was 
very difficult to see in front 
of us for any distance, or to 
move quickly, as the road was 
lined with hundreds of forage 
carts ; but in time we out- 
stripped them, and had the 
road, and it seemed the world, 
to ourselves. It was a glori- 
ous October afternoon, and the 
sensation of flying through the 
air acted as a tonic after the 
nervous inactivity of the morn- 
ing. Our guiding lorry, how- 
ever, was nowhere in sight, 
so we hopefully said to each 
other, of course it must be 
far ahead; but just to make 
sure we stopped in a village, 
which was entirely given over 
to soldiers, to ask how far we 
were from Caramurat, and if 
they had seen a motor -lorry 
pass through. On asking how 
far we were from Caramurat 
we were stared at in blank 
astonishment, which, to say 


the least of it, let us see we 
were not very near. An offi- 
cer brought a map out of his 
pocket, and showed us that 
we were going in exactly the 
opposite direction. We had 
been told it should take us 
two hours from Mejedia. Now 
we were told that, even if we 
did find the short outs, it 
would take us five hours at 
least, unless we went back to 
Mejedia ; but this the drivers 
refused to do, as the roads 
were in a terrible condition 
after the night's rain. We 
were also told it was a beau- 
tiful road when we reached it, 
so it was decided to go ahead. 
As we were starting a boy 
jumped on to the step of the 
oar and said he would show 
us the way; but for him it 
would have been impossible 
to find all the short cuts by 
which he led us, and it was 
well worth having taken the 
wrong road, as we passed 
through some most beautiful 
country. But the chief thing 
to be remembered was the 
sunset. Even the soldiers 
were standing in groups spell- 
bound. It is not to be de- 
scribed, except feebly to say 
that the sky seemed turned 
to blood, with long darts of 
gold laced across it. As we 
passed outside a village a 
group of peasants in their 
picturesque costumes were sil- 
houetted against the sky. 
They and we were watching 
an aeroplane as it swept 
across the sunset and sank 
slowly to earth in a field by 
the roadside. At this point 
our young guide left us, and 
we turned into the highroad, 


The Dobruja Retreat. 


whioh was quite up to its 
reputation. The light faded 
out of the sky, and rain came 
on a cold autumn rain but 
the good road cheered us, and 
we thought we would be no 
time in covering the distance. 
It was quite clear the motor- 
lorry had not come that way, 
and its occupants would be 
waiting for us at Caramurat, 
so we had no time to lose. At 
first we passed a few carts, 
then at some distance more 
and more, till we found our- 
selves in an unending pro- 
cession of peasants with all 
their worldly goods piled on 
what seemed like scaffold- 
ings of small houses, drawn 
by teams of beautiful cream- 
coloured oxen. Hundreds of 
these erections lined the roads, 
and often the contents of the 
carts were most remarkable. 
Pigs usually had the most 
comfortable place ; in one 
cart an enormous fellow was 
reclining on a red pillow ; 
ducks and hens tied by the 
legs; sheep also drove some- 
times; calves and foals ran 
alongside. This procession 
seemed difficult to pass, but 
as time went on, added to it, 
came the Roumanian army re- 
treating, hundreds of guns, 
cavalry, infantry, ambulances, 
Red Cross carts, motor-kit- 
chens, and wounded on foot 
a most extraordinary scene. 
The night was inky black: 
the only lights were our own 
head-lights and those of the 
ambulance behind us, but they 
revealed a sad and never-to-be- 
forgotten picture as they shone 
on the wearied faces of the 
women, sitting amongst all 

that was left of their homes, 
terrified children crouching be- 
side them, old men and women 
in many oases lying on mat- 
tresses, too ill or too old to 
take any notice of what was 
going on around them the 
dull, patient faces of the oxen, 
the terrified horses, girls 
screaming, men pushing and 
shouting as they tried to 
make order out of chaos so 
that we might pass. Our 
driver was quite wonderful: 
she sat unmoved, often for 
half an hour at a time. There 
was a block, and we had to 
wait while the yelling, frantic 
mob did what they could to 
get into some sort of order; 
then we would move on for ten 
minutes and stop again ; it 
was like a dream or a play, it 
certainly was a tragedy. No 
one spoke, we just waited and 
watched it all : to us it was a 
spectacle, to these poor home- 
less people it was a terrible 
reality. One thing was very 
plain to us, and that was, we 
were going in the wrong direc- 
tion, as the army was retreat- 
ing and the inhabitants evacu- 
ating their homes; but our 
orders were to go to Caramurat, 
so we had to push on. We 
had expected to get there by 
four o'clock, but at nine o'clock 
we were still some miles from 
the lights whioh we were told 
marked our destination. Once, 
on asking how far we still had 
to go, we were asked in return 
why we were going there 
did we not know that the 
enemy was only seven kilo- 
metres away? and we could see 
for ourselves the burning vil- 
lages reflected on the skyline. 


The Dobrwja Retreat. 


At last we arrived at the 
cross-roads, one of which led 
to the little town, but it was 
impossible to turn into it, 
as hundreds of gun-carriages 
were charging along the road 
we had to take. We stopped 
by the cross-roads till it seemed 
as if we had been there always, 
and would always stay there, 
and had our driver not risked 
everything and made a dash 
for it, we might have been 
there all night; but the dash 
was a success, and we reached 
the dark spot which we were 
told was the town. Soldiers 
sitting in groups round their 
camp-fires cookiug supper were 
the only signs of life. By the 
light of their fires we could see 
the roads lined with carts and 
ambulances, horses by the hun- 
dred tied to palings but even 
these signs of life we passed, 
and our one idea now was to 
find the motor-lorry with our 
seven girls. Could they pos- 
sibly be in this deserted town, 
and where? By this time we 
were shivering and very wet, 
and the prospect of a night's 
rest seemed rather remote. I, 
being the youngest inmate of 
Dr Inglis' oar, and having a 
knowledge of German, which 
was very useful in Roumania, 
was given the job to try and 
find a clue to our missing girls. 
The oar drew up in front of a 
house where there was a faint 
light visible below the door; 
otherwise everything was in 
total darkness. On getting 
out of the car, the first thing I 
did was te fall in the mud. I 
was so cold and stiff I had no 
use of my limbs, and the mud 
was beyond description. How- 

ever, shaking the mud off 
warmed me up a little, and I 
made for the house with the 
light. As I put my hand up 
to knock, the door opened, 
and there stood in front of me 
one of the Serbian soldiers who 
had worked in our hospital at 
Mejedia. Luck was in our 
way. He was the best person 
I could have met. He spoke 
German, and would understand 
and be able to help me. I 
asked him at once if he had 
seen or heard of the arrival of 
the motor-lorry with the sisters 
from Mejedia. He said no, but 
he would go with me to the 
Red Cross Station, which was 
quite near, and they would be 
sure to know. So I returned 
to the oar, taking my Serb 
with me, and told Dr Inglis 
what I was going to do. 

At the Bed Cross a very grim 
old sister told me she knew 
nothing about our sisters, but 
if we were working with the 
Serbians the natural place to 
go was the Serbian Head- 
quarters Staff. My guide said 
he knew the way. So off we 
started on a perfect nightmare 
of a journey. He said it was 
a short out. It may have been, 
but I never want to go through 
quite so much variety in as 
short a time as we did that 
night. We crossed courtyards 
full of horses. We picked our 
way among sleeping soldiers in 
gardens. We crawled through 
holes in palings : we had to 
make the holes for ourselves 
several times. And finally my 
clever guide had to own that 
we had gone wrong somewhere, 
but if I theught I could get 
over a high wall which atoed 


The Dobruja Retreat 


in front of us, all would be 
well. By this time I did not 
really care what I did. So the 
lusty Serb took me in his arms, 
and with his help I scrambled 
on to the top of the wall. 
The other side was inky blaok, 
but there was no time to think ; 
my guide was up beside me, 
and in a minute he had jumped 
to the ground. I heard a 
splash, then a voice saying, 
" Now, Sestritza," and I j umped. 
It was a leap in the dark 
indeed. I know how I felt, 
but I am glad there was no 
opportunity of seeing how I 
looked when I landed, in what 
probably was a sewer ; but it 
was all in the night's work, 
and there was no use in feeling 
siok, so we pushed on, and soon 
came to a halt in a dark 
courtyard. We made for a 
door, and without a word my 
guide darted up a long passage 
and disappeared. I was left 
alone, and for the first time I 
realised how hungry and wet 
and cold I was. I was utterly 
miserable, and my instinct was 
to run away, but where to? 
We had come by such devi- 
ous paths, I could never find 
my way to the oar, so I 
waited till my Serb came back, 
which I daresay was only a 
few minutes, although it seemed 
ages. He beckoned to me to 
follow him, and before I knew 
where I was he had opened a 
door, pushed me into a room, 
shut the door, and himself 
outside. In front of me I saw 
one officer half dressed getting 
up to meet me, and two others 
lying in bed watching me. If 
I had wanted to run away 
before, I wanted to still more 

then, but it was not as bad 
as I fancied. The half-dressed 
Serbian addressed me in Ger- 
man, and excused their having 
already retired, saying they 
were leaving Caramurat at 
four o'clock in the morning. 
He had already been told why 
I had come to see him, but had 
no information to give me 
about the sisters. He had 
heard nothing of them, but if 
I went to the Russian Head- 
quarters he was sure they 
could tell me if any one from 
the English Hospital had 
arrived. I thanked him, and 
joined my guide, who was 
waiting for me outside. 

So off we started again, but 
this time on a real road, and very 
soon came to a more imposing 
building. Again I waited out- 
side, while my guide went to 
reconnoitre, and again I was 
suddenly propelled into a room. 
This time my interview was 
very brief. The room was full 
of officers, tired-looking men. 
There were maps on a big 
table, maps on the floor and on 
the wall. Some were bending 
over them, some were writing. 
The telephone was going all 
the time, and as names were 
called out, they were traced on 
the maps. I felt such a miser- 
able worm, bothering these 
anxious-looking men, who had 
their hands only too full al- 
ready. So I explained very 
quickly to the General why 
I was there, and I would be 
obliged if he could give me 
any information. He only 
stared at me and said: "I 
know nothing of the ladies; 
but take my advice and leave 
this place at once all of you. 


The Dobruja Retreat. 


It is no plaoe for women at 
this time. The enemy is 
only seven kilometres distant ; 
they will be here in the 
morning." Adding, however, 
as he opened the door for me : 
"Go to the Roumanian Head- 
quarters, if you have not al- 
ready been there. They may. 
have news." 

We had only to cross the 
courtyard. An orderly was 
standing outside. When he 
heard my business, without any 
warning he showed me into 
a room; and, for the third 
time, I found myself explain- 
ing that I was seeking for 
news of the sisters who had 
left Mejedia for Caramurat that 
afternoon. This time I was 
not to get off so easily. The 
remains of a meal were still 
on the table: they had dined 
well. When I entered the 
room a shout went up, and 
one youth planted himself 
with his back to the door, at 
which every one laughed. I 
was conscious of looking per- 
fectly hideous. I was wet 
and cold and hungry, and 
frightened and dead tired, my 
hair plastered down with the 
rain; a grey shirt and tartan 
tie not too becoming at 
the best of times, and still 
less so when one's face is 
blue with cold; a waterproof 
splashed with mud, and boots 
like a ploughman's after a 
day's work. The effect on these 

faily-dressed Roumanians must 
ave been rather startling 
when this freak said she was 
one of the staff from the 
English Hospital, whose fame 
had gone abroad as being 
very smart and workmanlike. 

Womanlike, being conscious of 
all this, it did net make me feel 
any happier, and I saw quickly 
I was to get no satisfaction 
here. Some pretended they 
knew all about the girls, and 
said I should not bother they 
would be all right. When I 
said I must find them that 
night, they all laughed. I 
was very angry inside, but I 
knew it would do me no good 
to show it. At last one man, 
who was still busy with his 
dinner, called out "The Ser- 
bian doctor knows where they 
are." I asked where he was 
to be found, and requested 
that my guide might be told 
where to find him. The 
youth with his back to the 
door was inclined to be im- 
pertinent; and I had just had 
about as much as I could 
stand when an older man, 
who had been studying a map 
on the wall, came forward, 
took the boy by the arm and 
pushed him away. And as I 
passed him ha said : " Leave 
here at once. This is no plaoe 
for you ; we are all leaving in 
a few hours." Oh, how thank- 
ful I was to join my simple 
Serb even though it meant 
another scramble through gar- 
dens and holes in palings and 
backyards, till we came to a 
field in which there was a 
tent! And here the Serbian 
doctor was to be found. I 
sent my guide to interview 
him, but he returned with the 
usual answer : the doctor had 
heard nothing of them, but 
we must ge to the Serbian 
Staff; they knew we were 
coming, and had a room for 
us to sleep in; so if any one 


The Dobruja Retreat. 


knew, they must know. So 
again we went to the room 
where I had begun my search, 
a-nd again I interviewed the 
unfortunate men who were 
leaving at four o'clock next 
morning. I said, one of them 
must come with me to Dr 
Inglis and tell her himself 
that nothing had been heard 
of the missing girls. Very 
unwillingly my German-speak- 
ing friend left his mattress 
and got into his top-boots 
and coat. I was not going 
to risk losing him, so I stayed 
in the room till he was ready 
to accompany me. When at 
last we reached the oar, the 
inmates said they had just 
been wondering what would 
be the best way to set about 
finding me, as they supposed 
I also had got lost. 

I was glad to hand my Ser- 
bian officer over to Dr Inglis, 
who, after a short conversation, 
was quite convinced the missing 
girls had not arrived in Cara- 
murat. So the next thing to 
do was to get a room for the 
night and " a good meat meal." 
The poor man looked rather 
dismayed. He said the room 
was quite easy, that had al- 
ready been arranged, but a 
meal was quite impossible. 
The town was evacuated, 
there had been no food to be 
got for days, he could get us 
some chi. But Dr Inglis would 
not hear of that; she said we 
had eaten nothing since morn- 
ing, and it was then 11.30 ; 
there must be some food to 
be got. The car was drawn 
up to the roadside, a soldier 
left to guard it, and we went 
off to the room which was pre- 

pared for us. To get to it we 
had to walk along a passage 
packed with sleeping soldiers. 
It was very difficult stepping 
between them by the light of 
a match, but we reached our 
haven of rest at last. Though 
it was only a bare room, with 
straw in heaps on the floor, 
and green blankets to wrap 
ourselves in, to cold shivering 
beings like ourselves it seemed 
all that heart could desire. 
Presently two Serbian soldiers 
came in, bringing a basin, 
towels, and soap. One held 
the basin, after the Serbian 
custom, while the other one 
poured the water slowly on to 
our hands. Never shall I for- 
get the delight of lying down 
on the straw, the dry warm 
blanket rolled round me. In 
a few minutes I was fast 
asleep, as was every one else. 
Then a most wonderful thing 
happened. We could not have 
been asleep more than an hour, 
when the door opened and 
several soldiers entered with 
the most beautiful meal I ever 
ate. It was like a fairy 
tale. Where did it come from ? 
The lovely soup, the real 
Kussian Borsh and roast tur- 
key "and plenty of bread and 
chi. We ate like wolves, and 
I can remember so distinctly 
sitting up in my straw nest, 
with my blanket round me, 
and hearing Dr Inglis' cheery 
voice saying, "Isn't this better 
than having to start and cook 
a meal ? " She was the most 
extraordinary person : when 
she said she must have a 
thing, she got it, and it was 
never for herself, always for 
others. At the time I do not 


The Dobruja Retreat. 


think we were sufficiently 
grateful for our meal, because 
it must have meant that it 
was prepared for some one 
leaving in the early morning, 
and they would go without 
probably the poor man whom 
I had twice dragged out of 
bed, returning good for evil. 
We were again soon fast 
asleep, but at intervals were 
awakened by different mem- 
bers of the unit, all of whom 
had been told to make for 
Caramurat for safety. On 
arriving in the town they 
were told where we were 
sleeping, and they joined us 
for a few hours' rest. 

At dawn our Serbian friend 
of the night before eame to say 
good-bye. "You understand," 
he said, "the Bulgar makes 
no prisoners of us; if caught, 
we are shot." He left us re- 
peating what every one had 
said: "Get off early in the 
morning; the enemy is very 
near." As son as it was 
light most of us got up. We 
heard that our transport had 
arrived after various very 
thrilling experiences : they 
were having breakfast in a 
stable in our courtyard, so we 
joined them, and shared their 
very comforting hot tea. The 
morning was bitterly cold. 
About six o'clock a motor 
cyclist arrived with a message 
for Dr Inglis, telling her the 
missing sisters were safe : they 
had been stopped half-way, 
and were waiting for orders 
from her how to proceed. It 
was a great relief to all of 
us to know they were safe. 
At 6.30 the oars were lined 
up on the road, each driver 

standing beside her oar, wait- 
ing for Mrs Haverfield, the 
head of the transport, to give 
the word of command to start. 
Soon the last car disappeared ; 
they were making for Galatz 
as the finishing point so were 
we all, but by various routes